What is a sultan’s wife called: What do you call a sultan’s wife?


SULTAN’S WIFE – crossword answers, clues, definition, synonyms, other words and anagrams

‘SULTAN’S WIFE’ is a 11 letter phrase starting with S and ending with E

Crossword clues for ‘SULTAN’S WIFE’

Synonyms, crossword answers and other related words for

SULTAN’S WIFE [sultana]

We hope that the following list of synonyms for the word sultana will help you to finish your crossword today. We’ve arranged the synonyms in length order so that they are easier to find.

6 letter words


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14 letter words


Definition of sultana

  • pale yellow seedless grape used for raisins and wine

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Razia Sultan – The female sultan

Razia Sultan as portrayed in the TV series Razia Sultan (2015)(Screenshot/fair use)

Razia Sultan was the only female ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. Razia was the daughter of Shams-ud-din Iltutmish. Itutmish chose her out of all his sons to succeed him on the throne because he believed his sons were corrupt.  This had never been done before, and it shocked the Muslim nobility.

On 29 April 1236, the Muslim nobility chose Razia’s brother, Rukn ud din Firuz, to be the king instead. Ruknuddin’s reign was very controversial. He let his mother, Shan Turkan, run the affairs of state while he indulged himself in pleasure and debauchery. This made him very unpopular, and the people wanted a new Sultan. Six months later Rukniddin and his mother were assassinated on 9 November 1236. With the support of the people of Delhi, Razia was named the next Sultan.

Eventually, Razia was grudgingly accepted by the nobles, who had originally opposed to her being named Sultan. She discarded the purdah system, dressed up like a man wearing a headdress and tunic, and gave up the veil, which shocked the courtiers.

“For several months, her face was veiled—
her sword’s ray flashed, lightning-like, from behind the screen.
Since the sword remained in the sheath,
many rebellions were left unchecked.
With a royal blow, she tore away the veil;
she showed her face’s sun from behind the screen.
The [lioness] showed so much force
that brave men bent low before her”

Razia’s reign seemed to start off well and showed signs that she would be a successful ruler. Razia was known to be a capable politician. She also rode out to combat dressed like a common soldier. She kept her nobles in check and also kept the support of the army. Therefore, Razia became an accessible queen, and this shocked the Muslim court event further. She was also known as a skilled warrior. One of her greatest accomplishments politically was her ability to manipulate rebel factions into opposing one another.

More of Razia’s accomplishments were that she made a policy on religious tolerance towards the Hindus, made crime punishable through evidence alone instead of having a trial, set up schools, and made libraries available to the public. Yet, despite these accomplishments, the Turkish nobles disapproved of her reign simply because she was a woman.

The opportunity arose when Razia favoured her advisor, Jamal-ud-Din Yaqut, an Ethiopian slave. When she made him Superintendent of the Stables, it sparked jealousy among the Turkish nobles. It was suggested that they were lovers, but there is no evidence for this. It is assumed that Razia had a great friendship with Yaqut. The nobles formed a rebellion coup led by Malik Altunia, the governor of Bhatinda, who was Razia’s childhood friend. Razia’s battle with Altunia ended up to be a failure. Yaqut was killed, and Razia was taken prisoner. Razia, in order to ensure her survival, made a clever ploy. She decided to marry Altunia.

While Razia managed to solve the conflict between Altunia, Razia had another problem. This one would lead to her downfall. Razia’s half-brother, Muizuddin Bahram Shah, had taken the throne. In order to get her throne back, Razia and her newly wedded husband, Altunia raised an army against Braham. Sadly, on 24 October 1240, they were defeated. Razia and Altunia fled to Kaithal and the army deserted them. Powerless, they were robbed and killed by the Jats on 25 October 1240.

Although Razia’s reign as Sultan was short, only four years, and unsuccessful, she was known to possess the political acumen to become a successful monarch. She was largely opposed by the Muslim nobles for being a woman. Her weakness was her relationship with Yaqut that led to an open rebellion and her eventual downfall. Regardless of this, she was still regarded as being a brave, resourceful, and clever ruler to the Delhi. She was the only woman to be accepted as Sultan by the people in a strict, Muslim culture.

There has been much talk about Razia in today’s popular culture. However, instead of focusing on her accomplishments, they have focused on her love life. There is a graphic novel titled Sultana Razia by Amar Chitra Kathar. Bollywood has made a 1983 movie starring Hema Malini as Razia. This biopic focuses on her relationship with Yaqut (Razia Sultan, 1983). In the 2015, series of Razia Sultan, which is currently available on Netflix, Razia is played by Pankhuri Awasthy. This series focuses on Razia’s relationship with Altunia (Razia Sultan, 2015). Hopefully, people will, later on, remember Razia for her accomplishments rather than focusing strictly on her relationships.

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Who is Sound Sultan’s wife? Rapper dies at 44 after battle with throat cancer

Nigerian rapper Sound Sultan has died at the age of 44. The musician, real name Olanrewaju Fasasi, lost his battle to throat cancer, family member Dr Kayode Fasasi announced. “It is with heavy heart that we announce the death of multi -talented veteran singer, Rapper, Song Writer, Olarenwaju Fasasi AKA Sound Sultan,” Dr Fasasi said in a statement, adding that Sultan “passed away at the age of 44, following a hard fought battle with Angioimmunoblastic T-cell Lymphoma.

He requested fans to respect the mourning family’s privacy as they try to cope with the untimely death of a rapper who had amassed incredible fame and fan following in the US after songs like ‘Bushmeat” went viral. 

Sultan is “survived by his wife, three children and his siblings,” Dr Fasasi said in the statement, adding: “We, his family will appreciate utmost privacy as we come to grips with this tragic loss.”

But Sultan’s diagnosis hadn’t happened ages ago; the popular rapper was diagnosed with cancer recently in April 2021. Shortly after, he was moved to America, where he was reportedly undergoing treatment and chemotherapy, which also saw reduced activity from him on social media. Many fans grew worried about the lack of content from the prolific musician, but maybe he was just taking a page out of his beloved wife and long-term partner Chichi Morah’s book. 


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Who is Sound Sultan’s wife?

Sultan and Morah wed in the fall of 2009 – their marriage a vivid emblem of what it means to be mindful of each others pet peeves. Together, the couple expanded into a family of five, with three beautiful children.

Morah, who was previously of Christian faith, embraced Sultan’s religion Islam, following their wedding. Sultan, who was from the Igbo ethnic group, addressed claims of his wife being forced to change her religion, saying: “No one force anyone to do a religion. It just happens that she married me and she really…really was in love with the religion herself,” reports Modern Ghana. After tying the knot, Morah also took up the Muslim name, Farida, and followed her husband’s faith. 

Back in 2017, long before he was diagnosed with cancer, Sultan had once opened up about what made his and Morah’s marriage work. Speaking to the outlet Saturday Beats at the time, Sultan had claimed how Morah didn’t like the limelight – blaming social media for break ups of big names in the entertainment industry. 

“No marriage is perfect just like you have feuds in families and they settle within themselves. It is the people that you are closest to that get you angry the most compared to people that you probably see once in a week because you don’t live with the person so you cannot truly know the person’s character,” Sultan had commented on the relationship he and Morah had built over the years. “If you have a family member that you think you do not see eye to eye, they are the ones that have your back. At the end of the day, you need to understand the concept of family before you make a decision or make a spectacle of whatever you have going on in your life,” said the gushing family man.

In the same interview, Sultan, who had been with Morah for a little under a decade at the time, also claimed, “Social media has been responsible for a lot of marriage and relationship break-ups. I have a song that speaks on this sort of thing. I am always online every day just like every other person but the truth is that you do not know who is praying for you and those who do not want you to exist.

But it was, however, his wife’s disinterest in having attention on herself that he felt really grateful for. “My wife does not even like the limelight at all,” Sultan had explained, adding: “If she is at an event with me, you would not even know she is my wife, you would just see her as one of the guests with the way she would blend with people. Without me taking all the glory, I think that has helped my marriage.”

The Women Slaves – ExploreTurkey.com

Cariyelik ( Women slavery) goes back to the era before islam. Baghdad used to be the most important slave market at the time of the Abbasides. After islam this business had to continue due to social and economic factors.
We notice that women slavery in the Ottoman Harem started with Orhan Bey, but from the period of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror the number of women slaves in the Harem increased rapidly. Starting from the middle of the Bayezid II’s period, the tradition of the Sultans’ marrying the neighbouring princelets’ and Principalities’ daughters ended . After that time, it became a new tradition for the Sultans to marry women slaves of the Harem. From that century, the Harem and the Sultanate based upon women slaves. They especially preferred to select Circassian, Georgian and Russian girls in the Harem. Since olden times, the Caucasian girls had been renowned with their beauties in the East. That is why, the Harem received too many Caucasian slaves in the beginning and that number rapidly increased especially in the 17th. Century. The girls taken over as prisoners of war in battlefields used to be taken in the Harem as women slaves earlier but in the decline and regression eras of the Ottomans they lost that source. From then on. The Grand Vizier, governors, pashas. Governors of provinces and the sisters of the Sultans offered them the women slaves they had raised. Another source was the slaves’ having been bought and brought in the Harem by the Customs treasurer. in t.he 19th. Century despite the slavery prohibition in the Empire, Caucasians used to send out their daughters to the Ottoman Harem wishing them to be selected as the wives of the Sultan. And they would even raisc their daughters and prepare them f ör such a life in the Harem by singing them lullabies like ‘Hope you will be a wife of the Sultan and lead a glorious life with diamonds’. The women slaves bought outside the Palace at the age of 5-7 used to be raised until they were mature enough, then offered to the Sultan. As they grew bigger and göt more beautiful they would take various classes such as music, courtesy, sodal relations.

They used to be taught the ways to treat and serve a man. When they were teenagers, introduced to the initials of the Palace and bought if selected. For the first night, they would stay in the home of the person who had bought them, and if she had some wrong behaviours, physical defects ör imperfections noticed that night. then their price would go down and the father be paid less than anticipated. Their parents had to sign a document stating that they sold their daughter and would have no future rights on her. Women slaves accepted in the Harem had to be examined by doctors and midwives. The ones carrying an illness ör having some disabilities would never be accepted in the Harem. Extremely beautiful but very inexperienced women slaves were to be trained at first. They would rise to the rank of the assistant-master and the master if they were successful enough. They used to wear long skirts reaching to their heels, tight robes, and coloured chiffon bonnets on their heads. They wore ostentatious robes edged with fringes . As hair care was important to them they would style their hair spending some considerable time in front of rnirrors. Some of them used to have snch long hair even reaching to their heels.

Women slaves were in a kind of competition in the Harem which was like a grand stage set with the players performing in an extravagant costume drama. In order to be noticed they would make-up, tinge their eyes and wear beautiful perfumes. We should mention the pendants, the necklaces and the ear-rings they used to wear too. Those were enhanced with the most precious jewellery such as pearls and diamonds, of course. They always wore seasonal robes. In the summer for instance, you would see them in their light exquisite silk dresses which were rather tight showing off the silhouette of their bodies. Those fur coated dresses had to have laid open collars to bestow a tempting appearance. They had buttons on the front and a rather tightened belt two inches in width enhanced with the most precious jewellery. The belts had buckles amended with diamonds. A cashmere shawl would cover their shoulders. In winters, they would mostly wear fur coats. Women slaves were very well looked after since the Prophet of the Muslims, Mohammed ordered ‘Furnish the slaves with anything you eat and wear, and never treat them badly’. The best deed in Islam is granting slaves their liberties. The Prophet Mohammed said ‘Whoever grants a Muslim slave his liberty shall not go to hell’. Thai’s why. all the Ottoman Sultans practised this canonical law and gave the unselected women slaves homes prepared their trousseau and let them leave the Harem.

The women slaves completing their training period would compete to become a Master, an Assistant Master, a Gozde (favoured), an Ikbal (Sultan’s favourite), a Kadin Efendi (Sultan’s wife) and finally the Valide Sultana (The Sultana Mother). Women slaves after spending nine years in the Harem had the right to leave. This was called ‘Cirag gikma’. The Sultan would give her the trousseau and help her marry somebody else. That slave would take a document signed by the Sultan stating her freedom. The woman slave having had that document could do whatever she wanted without any obstructions. Contrary to what is known, the Sultans used to keep 10 to 20 women slaves in their private chambers. The most beautiful ones would be of service to them and the ones who were beautiful enough be sent to the princes’ chambers. And finally, the ones who were supposed to become beautiful in the future would be sent to the eunuch treasurer and the assistant masters to be raised.

The young women slaves arriving in the Harem were given different names. Some Persian names such as; Gulnaz. Nesedil. Hosneva etc. would be given to them according to their behaviours, looks, beauties and characters. To remember their names some rosettes bearing their names would be attached to their collars. Assistant-masters used to train the new comers on Behaviourism, Religion, Sociability, Respectability, Morality and Music if they had the capability. The ones having good voice were given Music classes.

Those women slaves who could rise to the rank of wife had to be meticulously trained by all means and tutored how to read and write. Those women slaves converted to Islam would practise the rules of the religion. They could pray all together or separately. Besides, they were taught how to read the Koran. All women slaves had to be trained on the Islamic religion. After rising to the rank of wife they had many mosques built and charities founded. This shows that they devoted themselves to Islam after having been converted. The letters they wrote are the indicators of their unique training. Along with Music, they were taught poetry and literature. Hiirrem Sultana made Sultan Siileyman, the Magnificent fall in love with her by sending him the poems she had written. In one of her poems dedicated to Sultan Suleyman she wrote ‘Let Hiirrem be sacrificed to a single hair of your moustache’ (The meaning of these metaphorical lines is ‘I wouldn’t hesitate to die for you’) .

The number of women slaves in the Harem started to increase considerably from the time of Sultan Mehmed, the Conqueror and this number varied during the period of every single Sultan. In Ahmed I.’s period, they changed the heritage system and gave up appointing the Princes to provinces as governors. Instead, they started to accommodate them in the Harem which caused its population rise rapidly, of course. There used to be 300-500 people in the Harem before Mehmed III., but it is known that the number rose to 700 during his period. Women slaves used to be given some per diem the amount of which varied from Sultan to Sultan. For instance, during the period of Mahmud I that amount rose to 30-50 Akge (Ottoman coins).

Money and presents would also be given to them at weddings, festivals, birthdays. While they were taken good care in the Harem , the Sultan was totally intolerant to those who had committed a crime and they used to be exiled to Bursa and the island of Chios. Today, we have a document dated back to 1764 proving that Mustafa III exiled two women slaves to Bursa and Chios. Apart from those of 10-20 women slaves who were of service to the Sultan directly, the other ones used undertake various posts in the Harem. Inexperienced women slaves would go through a training period at first, with the arrival of the new comers, the existing experienced slaves would promote to the rank of an assistant-master and work in Kadmefendi, Valide Sultan, Prince and Gozde chambers. They were classified as the grand, standard and lower assistant masters and worked under the command of the head assistant master in those chambers. 10-15 assistants under the command of the most experienced assistant master would be on duty at night to provide the security of the Harem. Hiinkar’s (The Sultan) assistant-masters had the most important place in the Harem serving the Sultan in all ways from his bed time arrangement to the preparation of his meals. Those who used to do the Sultan’s private and special work were called Hazinedar (Treasurer) and the person managing them, the treasurer master.

They used to ranked as 1st,., 2nd., 3rd., 4th., and 5th. Hazinedars and remain in the Sultan’s chamber whenever the Sultan himself was in the palace. But, only the Hazinedar master could sit by the Sultan as the others were let in when they were called. The 3rd., 4th., and the 5th. Hazinedars used to stand on duty with their assistants outside the Sultan’s door for 24 hours. Besides, the key to the treasury was with the Head Hazinedar (The Treasurer). Hazinedars who used to carry the Sultan’s seal on a golden pendant around their neck were their confidential friends, too. That is why , the Sultans would always select their own Treasurers and the former ones would either be sent back to the old palace or he let them free by signing of their documentation of freedom. One of the most important duties of the treasurer was to arrange the nights the Kadmefendis would spend with the Sultan. Kethiida Kadm ranking after Kadmefendis was the master of ceremonies which would take place in the Harem. On some important clays such as festivals and weddings they used to organise the ceremonies in the Harem. She Valide Sultan, Prince and Gozde chambers. They were classified as the grand, standard and lower assistant masters and worked under the command of the head assistant master in those chambers. 10-15 assistants under the command of the most experienced assistant master would be on duty at night to provide the security of the Harem. Hiinkar’s (The Sultan) assistant-masters had the most important place in the Harem serving the Sultan in all ways from his bed time arrangement to the preparation of his meals.

Those who used to do the Sultan’s private and special work were called Hazinedar (Treasurer) and the person managing them, the treasurer master. They used to ranked as 1st,., 2nd., 3rd., 4th., and 5th. Hazinedars and remain in the Sultan’s chamber whenever the Sultan himself was in the palace. But, only the Hazinedar master could sit by the Sultan as the others were let in when they were called. The 3rd., 4th., and the 5th. Hazinedars used to stand on duty with their assistants outside the Sultan’s door for 24 hours. Besides, the key to the treasury was with the Head Hazinedar (The Treasurer). Hazinedars who used to carry the Sultan’s seal on a golden pendant around their neck were their confidential friends, too. That is why , the Sultans would always select their own Treasurers and the former ones would either be sent back to the old palace or he let them free by signing of their documentation of freedom. One of the most important duties of the treasurer was to arrange the nights the Kadmefendis would spend with the Sultan. Kethiida Kadm ranking after Kadmefendis was the master of ceremonies which would take place in the Harem. On some important clays such as festivals and weddings they used to organise the ceremonies in the Harem. She would carry a silver rod to express the greatness of her post and used to keep the Sultan’s seal to seal his properties in his chamber. Kethuda Kadin had maids help her in everything she did. Qas.nigir Usta (flavour taster) used to deal with all the meals in the Harem. With the women slaves under their control they had to taste all the food the Sultan would eat to find out if anything was poisoned. Qamajir Usta (Laundry woman) was responsible for the laundry. With the women slaves under their command they always tried to do their best, tbriktar Usta (butler-keeping the ewers) helped the Sultan perform an ablution by pouring water on his hands. Coffee business was Kahveci Llsta’s and cellar was of Kilerci Usta’s duties. Kutucu Usta would wash the Sultans, Kadmefendis and Ikbals in the Hamam (Turkish Bath). Ktilhanci Usta was responsible for the warmth of the Hamams. they had to burn woods to heat the Hamam cabins. A total of 5 Katibe Ustas were in charge of the discipline, regulation and the protocol affairs. The Ustas (masters) examining the sick women slaves used to be called Hastalar Ustasi (The master of patients), midwife, and nurses used to work under the control of Kethiida Harum.

In a list showing the employees of the Harem at the time of Mahmud I, we can see 17 women slaves working in the cellar, 23 under the command of the higher ranked women slaves, 72 for the princes, 15 for Ikbals, and 230 various, making a total 456 women slaves. This list proves that The Sultans were not in relation with all Cariyes (women slaves) in the Harem. Hundreds of women slaves coming to the Harem with the hopes of being the Sultan’s wife used to be accommodated in the Cariyeler Kogusu (The chamber of women slaves) to the west of the Harem. They would eat their meals altogether served on big trays directly from the Harem’s kitchen by sitting on the bank where the Harem’s security guards stood. In the winter time, younger Concubines used to sleep in woolen beds on wooden divans placed on the ground floor of the Concubines chamber which used to be heated by a huge fireplace and have mezzanine floors supported by strong pillars. On top floors, there lived higher-ranked Concubines. Inexperienced Concubines were to be inspected by Concubines and them by assistant masters, and finally assistant masters by their masters. They all had a regular life in the Harem.

The gate opening into the Concubines garden bears some scripts revealing the hopes and the dreams of them ‘My God who can open all the doors, please open us blessed doors, too). This reflects their common wish and hopes of the future. They all had new dreams everyday and waiting for the day the Sultan would select them.

She was extravagantly beautiful, would display the silhouette of her body under her elaborate tight dress . She would spend a lot of time in front of mirrors watching herself for hours while combing her hair reaching to the ground. She had dimples on her smiling face and was sure of herself that she was admired by all. With her rosy cheeks and vigorous breasts she would stand up and walk into her colourful dreams. Weren’t they the same Sultans who had
promoted Hurrem, Safiye, Naksidil Sultanas to the rank of Sultana from slavery? Sometimes this dream would never come true and their hopes would remain to the following days.

After the period of Ahmed I, Ottoman Princes were not appointed to the provinces as governors and they started to stay in the Harem. At times, they had some intercourse with Concubines but since it was prohibited to have children from them they had to comply with the rules. If accidentally one of the Concubines got pregnant she had to lose the baby by mandatory
It is known that if those voluptuous Concubines were unable to make themselves some room in the Princes chambers either, they used to make love to each other. They would make love with Harem Agalari (Eunuchs) too, although they were castrated. It is widely known that Eunuchs had many adventures with women slaves. After they were freed and married other people outside the Palace some would divorce a while later saying to the husband ‘I used to get more pleasure from my previous intercourse with the black men’ is a proof of their adventures with them. We know that Eunuchs would kill each other because of jealousy. Suleyman II reigned between 1687-1691 was sick all the time and had to spend most of his time in Edirne Palace. Making use of his absence, Concubines used to have more relations with Eunuchs. Ahmed II who was living in the Harem as the successor at that time, learnt that from some other Concubines, and after sitting on the throne upon his father’s death, banned Eunuchs enter in the Harem after dusk.

At times, those extravagantly beautiful Concubines fell in love with their Music teachers. Kalfa(Assistant Master) used to stand next to them while being tutored. But, their eyes would reveal their desires before words. No words needed in such a case. Haci Arif Bey, Aziz Efendi, and Sadullah Aga were some of those who fell in love with their students while tutoring. Haci Arif Bey was extremely handsome, and the most famous composer of the period. The Sultan was very fond of his work and he had asked him to tutor the Concubines in the Harem. As the classes started their significant glances became more meaningful. He used to make her memorise new songs and would reply back by singing some purposeful songs. That women slave was deeply in love with Haci Arif Bey, but before she revealed her love to him she had died of tuberculosis. Some other Concubine was clever enough by using the power of the words along with glances and had him love herself. Making love with Concubines was a crime. With the help of some matchmakers, the Sultan allowed his Concubine to marry Haci Arif Bey.

Aziz Efendi was not so handsome as Haci Aiif Bey, but he had an incredibly beautiful voice. He also taught Concubines in the training room of the Palace. He was too sensitive and quite shy . He could not look at the faces of the Concubines he was tutoring. One day some brought him a Cariye belonged to Hanim Sultana and asked him to train her. She was extremely talented. She could sing the songs perfectly the day after she had learnt them. Aziz Efendi was very much impressed by her ability and took a look at the Concubine admiringly. Their eyes met revealing each other what they had in their hearts. That continued repeatedly every single day, with no words being performed by either. They started to pronounce their love by meaningful songs. But, some clay they found out that their classes had been canceled. Thus, they had to bury their platonic love deep in their hearts. Sometimes such a love would end up in front of an executioner. Sadullah Aga was one of those who had fallen in love with his student Mihriban and was able to save his head by some piece of music he composed. We are going to tell you about his story while narrating Selim III.

About Hurrem Haseki Sultan: Favourite and later the chief consort and legal wife of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1502 – 1558)

Hurrem Sultan (Turkish pronunciation: [hyɾˈɾem suɫˈtaːn], Ottoman Turkish: خرم سلطان‎, Ḫurrem Sulṭān; c. 1502 – 15 April 1558) was the favourite and later the chief consort and legal wife of Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. She had six children with Süleyman: Şehzade Mehmed, Mihrimah Sultan, Şehzade Abdullah, Sultan Selim II, Şehzade Bayezid, and Şehzade Cihangir. She was one of the most powerful and influential women in Ottoman history and a prominent and controversial figure during the era known as the Sultanate of Women. She was “Haseki Sultan” (favorite of the Sultan) when her husband, Süleyman I, reigned as the Ottoman sultan. She achieved power and influenced the politics of the Ottoman Empire through her husband and played an active role in state affairs of the Empire.


Hürrem’s birth name is unknown. Leslie P. Peirce has written that it may have been either Anastasia, or Aleksandra Lisowska. Among the Ottomans, she was known mainly as Haseki Hürrem Sultan or Hürrem Haseki Sultan. Hürrem or Khorram (Persian: خرم‎‎) means “the cheerful one” in Persian. “Roxelana” might be not a proper name but a nickname. Until the 15th century, “Roxolany” or “Roxelany” was a name for the Russians, from the ancient Roxolani. Thus her nickname would literally mean “The Ruthenian One”.


Sources indicate that Hürrem Sultan was originally from Ruthenia, in present-day Ukraine, which was then part of the Polish Kingdom. She was born in the town of Rohatyn, 68 km south-east of Lwów, a major city of the Ruthenian Voivodeship in the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland (today in Western Ukraine). According to late 16th-century and early 17th-century sources, such as the Polish poet Samuel Twardowski (died 1661), who researched the subject in Turkey, Hürrem was seemingly born to a father who was a Russian Orthodox priest.

In the 1520s, Crimean Tatars captured her during one of their frequent raids into Ruthenia. The Tatars may have first taken her to the Crimean city of Kaffa, a major centre of the slave trade, before she was taken to Istanbul. In Istanbul, Valide Sultan Hasfa Sultan selected Hürrem as a gift for her son, Sultan Süleyman; Hürrem was to become the Haseki Sultan or “favorite concubine” of the Ottoman imperial harem. Mikhalon Lytvyn, ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to the Crimean khanate, wrote in the 16th century that “the most beloved wife of the present Turkish emperor – mother of his primogenital [son] who will govern after him, was kidnapped from our land”.

Relationship with Süleyman

Roxelana, called Hürrem Sultan, probably entered the harem around fifteen years of age. The precise year that she entered the harem is unknown, but scholars believe that she became Süleyman’s concubine around the time he became sultan in 1520. Hürrem’s unprecedented rise from harem slave to Süleyman’s legal wife and “queen of the Ottoman Empire” attracted jealousy and disfavor not only from her rivals in the harem, but also from the general populace. She soon became Süleyman’s most prominent consort beside Mahidevran (also known as Gülbahar). While the exact dates for the births of her children are disputed, there is academic consensus that the births of her five children —Şehzade Mehmed, Mihrimah Sultan, Şehzade Abdullah, Sultan Selim II and Şehzade Bayezid — occurred quickly over the next four to five years. Süleyman and Hürrem’s last child, Şehzade Cihangir was born with a hunchback, but by that time Hürrem had borne enough healthy sons to secure the future of the Ottoman dynasty.

Her joyful spirit and playful temperament earned her a new name, Hürrem, from Persian Khorram, “the cheerful one”. In the Istanbul harem, Hürrem became a rival to Mahidevran and her influence over the Sultan soon became legendary. Hürrem was allowed to give birth to more than one son which was a stark violation of the old imperial harem principle, “one concubine mother — one son,” which was designed to prevent both the mother’s influence over the sultan and the feuds of the blood brothers for the throne. She was to bear the majority of Süleyman’s children. Hürrem gave birth to her first son Mehmed in 1521 (he died in 1543) and then to four more sons, destroying Mahidevran’s status as the mother of the sultan’s only son. Süleyman’s mother, Hafsa, partially suppressed the rivalry between the two women. As a result of the bitter rivalry a fight between the two women broke out, with Mahidevran beating Hürrem, which angered Süleyman.

In 1533 or 1534 (the exact date is unknown), Süleyman married Hürrem in a magnificent formal ceremony, making him the first Ottoman Sultan to wed since Orhan Ghazi (reign 1326–1362), and violating a 200-year-old custom of the Ottoman imperial house according to which sultans were not to marry their concubines. Never before was a former slave elevated to the status of the sultan’s lawful spouse, much to the astonishment of observers in the palace and in the city. Hürrem also received the title Haseki Sultan and became the first consort to hold this title. This title, used for a century, reflected the great power of imperial consorts (most of them were former slaves) in the Ottoman court, elevating their status higher than Ottoman princesses, and making them the equals of empresses consort in Europe. In this case, Süleyman not only broke the old custom, but created new tradition for the future Ottoman Sultans to marry with a formal ceremony and make their consorts have significant influence on the court, especially in matter of succession. Hürrem’s salary was 2,000 aspers a day, making her one of the highest paid hasekis. Their marriage had subsequent consequences including creating a general belief that by this marriage the Sultan had limited his autonomy and was dominated and controlled by his wife. Furthermore, a mother’s role in educating and guiding her sons throughout their life became more prominent.

Roxelana memorial in Rohatyn, Ukraine.

Later, Hürrem became the first woman to remain in the Sultan’s court for the duration of her life. In the Ottoman imperial family tradition, a sultan’s consort was to remain in the harem only until her son came of age (around 16 or 17), after which he would be sent away from the capital to govern a faraway province, and his mother would follow him. This tradition was called Sanjak Beyliği. The consorts were never to return to Istanbul unless their sons succeeded to the throne. In defiance of this age-old custom, Hürrem stayed behind in the harem with her hunchback son Cihangir, even after her three other sons went to govern the empire’s remote provinces.

Moreover, in addition to remaining in Istanbul, she also moved out of the harem located in the Old Palace (Eski Saray) and permanently moved into the Topkapı Palace after a fire destroyed the old harem. Some sources say she moved to Topkapı, not because of the fire, but as a result of her marriage to Süleyman. Either way, this was another significant break from established customs, as Fatih Sultan Mehmed had specifically issued a decree to the effect that no women would be allowed to reside in the same building where government affairs were conducted. After Hürrem resided at Topkapı it became known as the New Palace (saray-ı jedid).

Under his pen name, Muhibbi, Sultan Süleyman composed this poem for Hürrem Sultan:

“Throne of my lonely niche, my wealth, my love, my moonlight.
My most sincere friend, my confidant, my very existence, my Sultan, my one and only love.
The most beautiful among the beautiful…
My springtime, my merry faced love, my daytime, my sweetheart, laughing leaf…
My plants, my sweet, my rose, the one only who does not distress me in this world…
My Istanbul, my Caraman, the earth of my Anatolia
My Badakhshan, my Baghdad and Khorasan
My woman of the beautiful hair, my love of the slanted brow, my love of eyes full of mischief…
I’ll sing your praises always
I, lover of the tormented heart, Muhibbi of the eyes full of tears, I am happy.”

State affairs

Hürrem became Süleyman’s partner not only in the Sultan’s household, but also in state affairs. Thanks to her intelligence, she acted as Süleyman’s chief adviser on matters of state, and seems to have had an influence upon foreign policy and international politics. She frequently accompanied him as a political adviser. Hürrem’s influence on Süleyman was so significant that rumors circulated around the Ottoman court that the sultan had been bewitched.

Her influence with Süleyman made her one of the most powerful women in Ottoman history and in the world at that time. Even as a consort, her power was comparable with the most powerful woman of the Imperial Harem, who by tradition was the Sultan’s mother or valide sultan. For this reason, she has become a controversial figure in Ottoman history — subject to allegations of plotting against and manipulating her political rivals.

Controversial figure

A portrait of Roxelana in the British Royal Collection, c. 1600–70

Hürrem’s influence in state affairs not only made her one of the most influential women, but also a controversial figure in Ottoman history, especially in her rivalry with Mahidevran and her son Mustafa, Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha, and Kara Ahmed Pasha.

Hürrem and Mahidevran had borne Süleyman six şehzades (Ottoman princes), four of whom survived past the 1550s: Mustafa, Selim, Bayezid, and Cihangir. Of these, Mahidevran’s son Mustafa was the eldest and preceded Hürrem’s children in the order of succession. Traditionally, when a new sultan rose to power, all of his brothers were killed in order to ensure the stability of the empire. This practice is called kardeş katliamı.

Mustafa was supported by Ibrahim Pasha, who became Süleyman’s Grand Vizier in 1523. Hürrem has usually been held at least partly responsible for the intrigues in nominating a successor. Although she was Süleyman’s wife, she exercised no official public role. This did not, however, prevent Hürrem from wielding powerful political influence. Since the empire lacked, until the reign of Ahmed I (1603–1617), any formal means of nominating a successor, successions usually involved the death of competing princes in order to avert civil unrest and rebellions. In attempting to avoid the execution of her sons, Hürrem used her influence to eliminate those who supported Mustafa’s accession to the throne.

A skilled commander of Süleyman’s army, Ibrahim eventually fell from grace after an imprudence committed during a campaign against the Persian Safavid empire during the Ottoman–Safavid War (1532–55), when he awarded himself a title including the word “Sultan”. Another conflict occurred when Ibrahim and his former mentor, İskender Çelebi, repeatedly clashed over military leadership and positions during the Safavid war. These incidents launched a series of events which culminated in his execution in 1536 by Süleyman’s order. It is believed that Hürrem’s influence contributed to Süleyman’s decision. After three other grand viziers in eight years, Süleyman selected Hürrem’s son-in-law, Damat Rüstem Pasha, husband of Mihrimah, to become the grand vizier. Scholars have wondered if Hürrem’s alliance with Mihrimah Sultan and Rüstem Pasha helped secure the throne for one of Hürrem’s sons.

Many years later, towards the end of Süleyman’s long reign, the rivalry between his sons became evident. It is believed that both Hürrem and the grand vizier Rüstem helped turn Süleyman against Mustafa and Mustafa was accused of causing unrest. During the campaign against Safavid Persia in 1553, because of fear of rebellion, Süleyman ordered the execution of Mustafa. According to a source he was executed that very year on charges of planning to dethrone his father; his guilt for the treason of which he was accused remains neither proven nor disproven. After the death of Mustafa, Mahidevran lost her status in the palace (as the mother of the heir apparent) and moved to Bursa. She did not spend her last years in poverty, as her stepson, Selim II, the new sultan after 1566, put her on a lavish salary. Her rehabilitation have been possible after the death of Hürrem in 1558. Cihangir, Hürrem’s youngest child, allegedly died of grief a few months after the news of his half-brother’s murder.

Süleyman dismissed Rüstem and appointed Kara Ahmed as his grand vizier in October 1553. But almost two years later, Kara Ahmed was strangled by Süleyman’s order in September 1555. It is said that the execution was due to political manoeuvrings of Hürrem, who wanted Rüstem to become the grand vizier again. After death of Kara Ahmed, Rüstem Pasha became the grand vizier (1555–1561) once more.

Although the stories about Hürrem’s role in executions of Ibrahim, Mustafa, and Kara Ahmed are very popular, actually all of them are not based on first-hand sources. All other depictions of Hürrem, starting with comments by sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Ottoman historians as well as by European diplomats, observers, and travellers, are highly derivative and speculative in nature. Because none of these people – neither Ottomans nor foreign visitors – were permitted into the inner circle of the imperial harem, which was surrounded by multiple walls, they largely relied on the testimony of the servants or courtiers or on the popular gossip circulating around Istanbul. Even the reports of the Venetian ambassadors (baili) at Süleyman’s court, the most extensive and objective first-hand Western source on Hürrem to date, were often filled with the authors’ own interpretations of the harem rumours. Most other sixteenth-century Western sources on Hürrem, which are considered highly authoritative today — such as Turcicae epistolae (English: The Turkish Letters) of Ogier de Busbecq, the Emissary of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I at the Porte between 1554 and 1562; the account of the murder of Şehzade Mustafa by Nicholas de Moffan; the historical chronicles on Turkey by Paolo Giovio; and the travel narrative by Luidgi Bassano — derived from hearsay.

Foreign policy

Hürrem acted as Süleyman’s advisor on matters of state, and seems to have had an influence upon foreign policy and on international politics. Two of her letters to King Sigismund II Augustus of Poland (reigned 1548–1572) have survived, and during her lifetime the Ottoman Empire generally had peaceful relations with the Polish state within a Polish–Ottoman alliance.

Letter of Hürrem Sultan to Sigismund II Augustus, congratulating him on his accession to the Polish throne in 1549.

In her first short letter to Sigismund II, Hürrem expresses her highest joy and congratulations to the new king on the occasion of his ascension to the Polish throne after the death of his father Sigismund I in 1548. She also pleads with the King to trust her envoy Hassan Ağa (her close servant who was by some accounts a convert to Islam of Russian descent) who took another message from her by word of mouth. In her second letter to Sigismund August, written in response to his letter, Hürrem expresses in superlative terms her joy at hearing that the king is in good health and that he sends assurances of his sincere friendliness and attachment towards Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. She also quotes the sultan as saying, “with the old king we were like brothers, and if it pleases the All-Merciful God, with this king we will be as father and son.” With this letter, Hürrem sent Sigismund II the gift of two pairs of linen shirts and pants, some belts, six handkerchiefs, and a hand-towel, with a promise to send a special linen robe in the future.

There are reasons to believe that these two letters were more than just diplomatic gestures, and that Süleyman’s references to brotherly or fatherly feelings were not a mere tribute to political expediency. The letters also suggest Hürrem’s strong desire to establish personal contact with the king. “Perhaps,” writes one Ukrainian author, “they express her concern about her land, which was under Polish Kings, and her desire to help it out in any possible way?” In his 1551 letter to Sigismund II concerning the embassy of Piotr Opalinski, Süleyman wrote that the Ambassador had seen “Your sister and my wife.” Whether this phrase refers to a warm friendship between the Polish King and Ottoman Haseki, or whether it suggests a closer relation, the degree of their intimacy definitely points to a special link between the two states at the time.


The Turkish bath (hamam) constructed by Hürrem Sultan, Istanbul, 1556

Aside from her political concerns, Hürrem engaged in several major works of public buildings, from Mecca to Jerusalem, perhaps modelling her charitable foundations in part after the caliph Harun al-Rashid’s consort Zubaida. Among her first foundations were a mosque, two Koranic schools (madrassa), a fountain, and a women’s hospital near the women’s slave market (Avret Pazary) in Istanbul (Haseki Sultan Complex). It was the first complex constructed in Istanbul by Mimar Sinan in his new position as the chief imperial architect. The fact that it was the third largest building in the capital, after the complexes of Mehmed II (Fatih) and Süleyman (Süleymaniye mosque), testifies to Hurrem’s great status. She also built mosque complexes in Adrianopole and Ankara.

She commissioned a bath, the Haseki Hürrem Sultan Hamamı, to serve the community of worshippers in the nearby Hagia Sophia. In Jerusalem she established in 1552 the Haseki Sultan Imaret, a public soup kitchen to feed the poor and the needy. This soup kitchen was said to have fed at least 500 people twice a day. She also built Imaret Haseki Hürrem, public soup kitchen in Mecca.

Some of her embroidery, or at least that done under her supervision, has also survived, examples being given in 1547 to Tahmasp I, the Shah of Iran, and in 1549 to King Sigismund II Augustus.

Esther Handali acted as her secretary and intermediary on several occasions.


The türbe (mausoleum) of Hürrem Sultan in Süleymaniye Mosque at Fatih, Istanbul.

Hürrem died on 15 April 1558 and was buried in a domed mausoleum (türbe) decorated in exquisite Iznik tiles depicting the garden of paradise, perhaps in homage to her smiling and joyful nature. Her mausoleum is adjacent to Süleyman’s, a separate and more sombre domed structure, at the courtyard of the Süleymaniye Mosque.


Hürrem Haseki Sultan, or Roxelana, is well-known both in modern Turkey and in the West, and is the subject of many artistic works. In 1561, three years after Hürrem’s death, the French author Gabriel Bounin wrote a tragedy titled La Soltane about the role of Hürrem Sultan in Mustafa’s death. This tragedy marks the first time the Ottomans were introduced on stage in France. She has inspired paintings, musical works (including Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 63), an opera by Denys Sichynsky, a ballet, plays, and several novels written mainly in Russian and Ukrainian, but also in English, French, and German.

In early modern Spain, she appears or is alluded to in works by Quevedo and other writers as well as in a number of plays by Lope de Vega. In a play entitled The Holy League, Titian appears on stage at the Venetian Senate, and stating that he has just come from visiting the Sultan, displays his painting of Sultana Rossa or Roxelana.

In 2007, Muslims in Mariupol, a port city since 1922 in Ukraine (previously in Russia) opened a mosque to honour Roxelana.

In the 2003 TV miniseries, Hürrem Sultan, she was played by Turkish actress and singer Gülben Ergen. In the 2011–2014 TV series Muhteşem Yüzyıl, Hürrem Sultan is portrayed by Turkish-German actress Meryem Uzerli from season one to season three and at the series’ last season she is portrayed by Turkish actress Vahide Perçin.


With Süleyman, she had five sons and one daughter.

  • Mehmed (c. 1521 – 6 November 1543): Hürrem’s first son. Born in 1521 at Istanbul. Mehmed became the ruler of Manisa from 1541 until his death.
  • Mihrimah (21 March 1522 – 25 January 1578): Hürrem’s only daughter. She was married to Rüstem, later Ottoman Grand Vizier, on 26 November 1539.
  • Abdullah (1522 – 1525)
  • Selim (28 May 1524 – 12/15 December 1574): He was governor of Manisa after Mehmed’s death and later governor of Konya. He ascended to the throne on 7 September 1566 as Selim II.
  • Bayezid (1525 – 25 September 1561): He was governor of Kütahya and later Amasya.
  • Cihangir (9 December 1531 – 27 November 1553)

How a Slave Girl Became an Ottoman Queen – OZY

Because she burst through the Ottoman Empire’s glass ceiling … in the 16th century.

The letter reads as genuinely as any piece of correspondence a longing lover might send to their beloved: “Like a nightingale whose sighs and cries for help do not cease, I am in such a state due to being away from you. I would pray to Allah to not inflict this pain even upon your enemies.”

Depending on whom you ask, the words are those of a wife possessing exceptional charm and a deep sense of devotion, or those of a cunning manipulator influencing one of history’s pre-eminent Ottoman sultans. 

Either way, one thing is clear: Roxelana, better known as Hurrem Sultan, used a potent combination of intelligence and grace to transform herself from Suleiman the Magnificent’s favorite concubine into a key political operator in the 16th-century Ottoman Empire. Upending hundreds of years of tradition, Roxelana acquired the kind of outsize influence no woman before her had ever enjoyed in the empire, leaving a lasting imprint on both Ottoman history and European imagination, according to DeSales University English professor Galina Yermolenko. “It really is a unique love story,” she says.

What made Roxelana’s meteoric rise even more impressive were her humble beginnings. Kidnapped by Tatar traders from an area controlled by the kingdom of Poland (now in modern-day western Ukraine), the Slavic teenager was enslaved and transported to Istanbul sometime between 1517 and 1520. There she was trained in how to be a concubine, a task she undertook with a keen sense of survival, says Leslie Peirce, a history professor at New York University and author of Empress of the East: How a European Slave Girl Became Queen of the Ottoman Empire.

Introduced to Suleiman around 1520, either just before or during the first year of his reign, Roxelana wasted little time winning his heart. Within a few short years of giving birth to a son, Mehmed, Roxelana bore Suleiman another four, plus a daughter — thus ending the Muslim empire’s one-son-per-concubine tradition — while also marrying the sultan. These were just two among many Ottoman conventions that Roxelana would gradually undo as she rose to prominence within the closed imperial court. “A lot of rules got broken,” says Peirce. 

Commanding Suleiman’s affection allowed the convivial Roxelana (her Ottoman name meant “joyful one”) to burrow deep into the heart of power. When the sultan was away conducting military campaigns abroad, she served as his eyes and ears at home, keeping up regular correspondence and even offering political counsel in the process. She oversaw massive construction projects in the capital — the activities of concubine mothers were usually reserved to the provinces — and dabbled in diplomatic relations on the sultan’s behalf. “He pretty much trusted her with everything,” says Yermolenko. Foreign diplomats and other political observers were reportedly well aware of Roxelana’s stature: Her name was given to her by contemporary Ottoman-watchers as a nod to her Slavic background, since her birth name was unknown. 


Why Suleiman chose to elevate his favorite concubine to such prominence is still unclear. Love, of course, is a powerful argument. But Peirce also points to the emergence of other powerful women in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, such as Isabella I of Castile and Anne Boleyn, and speculates whether the sultan sought a European-style queen to rule alongside him. Either way, Peirce says, by establishing the foundation for what would eventually become the imperial harem, Roxelana brought “women right into the heart of government. ” 

Yet for centuries, before more detailed evidence became available, Western chroniclers portrayed Roxelana as a conniving, power-hungry social climber. Many believed her influence was downright devious. Ordinary Ottomans were already resentful of her place in their ruler’s court, but her image worsened after speculation that she had convinced Suleiman to order the 1553 execution of Prince Mustafa, his 38-year-old firstborn son by another woman. In power for decades, the aging Suleiman feared a potential threat to his throne from his popular and strong-willed son, while Roxelana shared an interest in propelling her own sons — who lacked the same level of public popularity — into power. The event also influenced her image abroad as a cold and calculating schemer, as well as a cautionary tale to European princes, Yermolenko adds, who may have been keen on including women in their own courts.

But not so fast, many contemporary historians say: The Ottoman world’s most successful sultan wasn’t easily fooled, and Mustafa’s execution may well have been Suleiman’s sober-minded choice. More accurate, they believe, would be to portray the power couple as mutually reinforcing — and, yes, in love. “Just about everything about her [Roxelana] has been so embellished,” Yermolenko says, “that at this point, it is very hard to separate fact from fiction.” 

Roxelana died in 1558, a few years before one of her children with Suleimain, Selim II, succeeded his father to the throne. Claiming her spot in history alongside other powerful women who began as mistresses, such as King Louis XV’s Madame de Pompadour, the Ottoman “empress” may not have been universally loved. But in true revolutionary spirit, she would change the Turkish empire for generations to come — regardless of what anyone thought.

Harem – Nasrid Palaces – AlhambraDeGranada.org

Against the popular belief of what a Harem (Harén) was, this one was simply the king’s home. The Harem was not a place where the sultan kept his wives isolated, constantly under the vigilant eyes of the eunuchs and where nobody else was allowed. The Harem was just his calm and normal home, without official receptions or protocol, the place where he could spend time with his family. A legend tells a story of Mohammed, who was often visited by friends and the faithful. One day he was playing with his grandchildren when a group of the faithful arrived to his house and, without asking for permission came into the room where Mohammed was playing on the floor with the children. Neither the prophet, nor his disciples enjoyed the scene and after that Mohammed started telling his followers that it was important to fit out a part of the house for the exclusive use of the family, a place visitors would not be allowed to enter. 

It is perhaps due to this common mistake that these chambers were called Harem. This area is where the three wives of the sultan lived, although the forth wife, «the favourite wife» (sultans used to have four wives), lived separately. The fourth wife probably lived in the Tower of the Captive (Torre de la Cautiva), where Mrs Isabel de Solís, known as Zoraya in Granada, lived, as she was Muley Hacén’s favourite wife. You may access the Harem going through a corridor illuminated by arches with latticework. The mirador of the south gallery of the Patio of the Lions (Patio de los Leones) is in the middle. Only the patio of these chambers remains, in the middle and with two porticoes, which have three arches each. A central arch, on the eastern portico, leads to the chambers. These chambers disappeared while Charles V Palace (Palacio de Carlos V) was built, but they were exactly like the ones on the western side. The patio walls are decorated with strips, a skirting board painted in ochre, blue and black and an eave that has plasterwork with circles and inscriptions praising the sultan and repeating the dynasty’s motto.

90,000 Wives of the Sultans. Harem before and after Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska

Wives of the Sultans

The wives of the Ottoman sultans were called kadyn-effendi. The number of Kadyn Effendi ranged from four to eight. The first wife was called the eldest wife, the others, respectively, the second, third, fourth, and so on. They lived in their quarters with female slaves and junior maids. After the death of one of them, one of the ikbal became kadyn-effendi. The senior eunuch was supposed to inform the sultan about the impending upgrade of the status of ikbal to kadyn effendi.The Sultan himself had to approve this promotion. After his consent, Kadyn Effendi received a diploma and new dresses were ordered for her. Then she was given separate chambers. Khazinedar-usta (treasurer) and his assistants introduced her to the traditions of the empire.

Kadyn-effendi, who had children, were called khaseki-sultan in the period between the 16th and 18th centuries. This title was first granted to Khyurrem Sultan, the wife of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

The elder, second and third kadyn-effendi had their chambers in the courtyard of the palace.In these apartments, decorated with fireplaces, Kadyn Effendi met with the Sultan in turn. The sultans had the right to spend nights with any of them, but on Fridays they had to be only with their wives. This is what the Qur’an prescribed. If the wife was not with her husband for three consecutive Fridays, then she had the right to turn to the qadi (judge). The rotation of wives was established by the treasurer. Once Gulfem Sultan, who needed money to build a mosque, sold her turn to another woman. For this, she was killed by order of Sultan Suleiman, who said that such an act was a cruel insult to the Sultan.(In the TV series The Magnificent Century, Gulfem safely survives all the twists and turns of the plot and remains alive for more than a hundred episodes.)

Khazinedar, who established the sequence of meetings with wives, also organized meetings of the ruler with some other women. For example, he brought the sixth wife of Mahmud I and the third wife of Abdul-Hamid I, made Nevres-kadyn the third kadyn-effendi.

Previously, kadyn-effendi lived with princes in the provinces, but later the sheikh-zade were forever returned to the harem, and they had to remain in the apartment of kadyn-effendi until his death or until the sultan left the throne. However, if the sultan was overthrown, then the wives were sent to the old palace, and the new wives of the sultans took their place in the chambers.

Although the kadyn-effendi entered into contact with the sultan in turn, this did not mean that he loved them equally. According to rumors in the harem, some wives were really adored by the sultans, others were ignored. For example, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent first married Makhidevran, but later fell in love with Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska. For a long time, there was a feud between the two women. Once Makhidevran beat Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska in a harem.When Sultan Suleiman found out about this, he immediately ordered to send his quarrelsome wife to Manisa, where her son Mustafa lived.

Another incident occurred between the eldest wife of Avji-Mehmed Gulnush Sultan and Hariye Gulbeyaz. When the sultan preferred the new brown Gulbeyaz to his first wife, she could not bear it, because she loved the Sultan very much, and killed Gulnush Sultan, throwing her off a cliff when the brown had a picnic on the seashore. So she was able to get rid of her rival.

It is known that some Kadyn Effendi had such a great influence on the sultans that they interfered in state affairs.In the Ottoman state, this era was called the women’s sultanate.

Kadyn-effendi wore a veil in the summer and fur coats in the winter. When they passed the Sultan, they took off their outer clothing and gave it to their concubine. They had to stand until the sultans allowed them to eat. After all, before them was the supreme and only ruler of the Ottoman Empire and at the same time the caliph, the head of the Muslims. Without his permission, the women did not speak or behave at ease.

Kadyn-effendi addressed their sons with the words “Your Highness”, and when the sons came to visit them, they got up and met them, saying: “My brave young man!” (“My lion!” – in the series.)

Regardless of age, the princes kissed the hand of Kadyn Effendi as a sign of respect. Other women in the harem, to show their respect, kissed the skirt of the kadyn effendi. When one Kadyn Effendi wanted to talk to another, she sent a messenger to find out if it would be convenient for her to receive her. The relationship between them was completely formal. When they had to go out, they took their concubines and assistants with them.

Harem agasy (eunuch) accompanied their crew on foot. If all the Kadyn Effendi departed together, then their carts followed one after another in the order of seniority.

The most important occupation for a harem woman was hair care. Like concubines, Kadyn Effendi loved to look after them, spending hours in front of mirrors. If they had long hair, it took hours to braid it. They wore expensive ribbons and hairpins on their hair. Hats covered the hair, their edges were wavy. They were made of velveteen and were adorned with pearls and diamonds.

In the summer, the Kadyn Effendi wore hats made of very light fabric, decorated with a rose with a diamond or a gold hairpin on an embroidered headscarf.In most cases, they attached a flower and an aigrette decorated with precious stones to their hats.

Information for biography


After the death of Sultan Selim Yavuz in 1520, his son Suleiman ruled the Ottoman Empire for 46 years. He did a lot for his country, which is why he was called Magnificent. His aphorism is still well known in Turkey: “My people do not respect or appreciate anything as much as the state, but no state on earth plays a more important role than one of them – mine.”He was a well-educated, intelligent and far-sighted politician. Suleiman won one victory after another on all fronts. The world was forced to acknowledge his greatness. This 26-year-old sultan, successfully walking up the steps of fame and immortality, met a concubine on his way, who later changed his fate, and in many respects – the fate of his state.

Upon returning home after the capture of Belgrade in 1521, he wanted to relax and spend a pleasant night in a harem with a beautiful slave. All the concubines instantly learned about his decision and began to prepare for a meeting with the great sultan. Each wanted to be the most beautiful. The one he chose could become the most respected woman in the palace.

The concubines were informed of his arrival. They all lined up and waited with trepidation for the Sultan. While they all stood with downcast eyes, one – a red-haired, sharp-nosed, white-skinned beauty with luxurious forms – gazed intently at the Sultan. He could not take his eyes off this beauty. Suleiman bent down and whispered to the treasurer: “I wish to spend the night with her.” And he asked to send her to the Sultan’s room at night.This slave was Ukrainian. Her name was Alexandra (according to other sources, Anastasia).

In Istanbul, on one of the tombs, a saying from the Koran is carved: “And when the buried alive will be asked: for what sin was she killed?” Roksolana’s story is the story of a woman who was literally buried alive. She was 15 years old when the heavy doors of the Sultan’s harem slammed shut behind her forever.

Two kinds of slaves were sold in the Istanbul slave market of Bedestan. The former were used for rough work or for the harem of the poor.These were ordinary women who could not stand out from the crowd. They were sold naked, with an iron collar around their necks. The latter were intended for the harems of the rich, exclusively for carnal pleasures. They were sold in beautiful outfits and looked after. There was a separate room for the sale of expensive slaves. It was in him that a 15-year-old Ukrainian girl fell, who stood out from the crowd by the fact that she … laughed. The slave traders of Bedestan have seen a lot in their lifetime, but not laughter instead of despair, tears and curses! For her, this was the only way not to end her life with an iron collar digging into her flesh: to laugh and never lower her eyes.The daughter of a Ukrainian priest ended up in the Sultan’s harem under the name Khyurrem (“laughing”). And for the sultan, she always remained only Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska. Her native name was buried in the same way as her soul.

Nobody knows exactly how her life in the palace went, although several novels and films were made based on her life.

… In the evening she was washed, perfumed with fragrant perfume and sent to the Sultan. She was only 17 when she met him in bed. Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska did everything possible to please Vladyka.It was the most important night of her life. It had to be decided – either the Sultan would like her, or she would spend the rest of her life in a harem like an ordinary woman. The gifts of the Sultan in the room, which she saw at dawn, testified to his gratitude and gratitude.

Jean Leon Gerome . Bathing

Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska managed to attract the attention of Suleiman the Magnificent! He wanted to see her again and again, overnight the girl won the heart of the most powerful person in the then world.She later became pregnant and gave birth to a baby. After giving birth, Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska deliberately started talking about the fact that she wanted to leave the palace, knowing that the Sultan would not allow this to be done. As she expected, Suleiman wished that Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska remained in the palace. She was determined to stay after the Sultan officially married her, which was contrary to the traditions of the Sultanate. His love for Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska enraged Makhidevran, the first wife of Suleiman. A quarrel arose between the two women that lasted for decades. Finally, Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska and Mahidevran fought in a harem, and Suleiman expelled Mahidevran Sultan from the palace.

From a letter home from a Venetian merchant, 30s. XVI century

“I know several reliable people … These are old women who sell ointments and witchcraft drugs to kindle love … You know how superstitious these women are! It is not clear only what hope can exist in Topkapi now: the days when timid beauties were brought to the Sultan’s box along the corridors of the harem are long gone. Now the halls are empty, vipers and scorpions crawl on the Sultan’s carpets . .. Gentle feet no longer step along the corridors of the harem.Only a nasty red-haired witch walks around and her bastards … In your last letter you asked what new I was able to learn about this woman. All the same. She is the only woman in the Sultan’s harem with an official title. She is the sultana of Haseki, and Sultan Suleiman shares his power with her. But in Europe she is better known as Roksolana. Roksolana – from the tribe from which she came. Recently, much has been said about Roxolans from Ukraine. The Roksolans are wild Slavic tribes living somewhere in the steppe.All that is known about them here is the Cossacks, the scourge of the Sultan’s throne, and the damned witch, whom everyone hates even more than these notorious Cossacks … ”

Having sealed his letter with his personal gold seal, the merchant sighed heavily and handed it to his servant. An hour later, along with other papers, the letter was sent with the ship, which, after a long and difficult voyage, was supposed to land on the shores of Venice. Most of these letters, sent to distant shores, most often mentioned one name.All Europe wanted to know the details about the woman who, at the last reception in the palace, in a dress of gold brocade, ascended to the throne with the Sultan with an open face! About the woman who made the Sultan forget about the harem forever. The name Roksolana is still mentioned in many novels of European writers. Usually in a negative image. Everyone knows the abyss dividing the European and Muslim worlds, and a woman who managed not only to survive, but also to conquer this world is perceived in the West with at least distrust.Deprived of the right to think and live in a world where a woman’s life was worth less than a stray cat, she managed to win, forcing proud men to bow at her feet. At the feet of the one who openly took the throne with the Sultan – for the first time in the history of the Ottoman Empire.

There is a legend about how Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska caught the eye of the Sultan. When the new slaves (more beautiful and expensive than she) were introduced to the Sultan, a small figure suddenly flew into the circle of dancing odalisques and, pushing the soloist away, laughed.And then she sang her song. The harem lived by cruel laws. And the eunuchs were waiting for only one sign – what to prepare for the girl: clothes for the sultan’s bedroom or the lace with which the slaves were strangled. The Sultan was intrigued and surprised.

There is another legend: about what Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska asked after a night with the Sultan. Having interested the Sultan with her silence, she asked for only one thing – the right to visit the Sultan’s library. The Sultan was shocked, but allowed. When after a while he returned from a military campaign, Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska already spoke several languages.She dedicated poetry to her sultan and even wrote books. It was unprecedented in those days and instead of respect caused fear. Her scholarship, plus the fact that the sultan spent all his nights with her – all this created an enduring glory of the witch Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska. It was said about Roksolana that she enchanted the Sultan with the help of evil forces. Indeed, the sultan was fascinated. And soon he discovered that it was Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, with her sharp mind, who was able to give the best advice in state affairs. Sultan Suleiman was a stern, reserved person: he loved books, wrote poetry, paid much attention to the war, but was indifferent to debauchery.As it was supposed “according to his position”, he married the daughter of the Circassian Khan Makhidevran, but did not love her. And when he met his Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, he found in her his only chosen one. She charmed not only the body of the Sultan, but also his mind and his soul, trying to find rays of light in the alien gloomy world of four walls, in which she was doomed to live.

From the book by Alev Litle-Krutye

“Harem. A veiled kingdom ”

In 1526, the Venetian envoy, Pietro Bragadino, reported to the Senate about a violent quarrel between the two sultans, during which the first kadin and Mustafa’s mother dragged Roxolana by the hair and severely scratched that face. Roksolana locked herself in her apartment and refused to appear at the call of the Sultan, referring to her damaged appearance. She stubbornly persisted, depriving the Sultan of her favors, and demanded that Suleiman proclaim her the official wife and share with her not only affection, but also his power. Such stubbornness could cost Roksolana her life, but the Sultan was conquered by her mind and fearlessness. To appease her, he appointed his son Mustafa as governor of a distant province. Mustafa’s mother, according to the then rules, had to follow her son.To confirm his loyalty to Roksolana, the sultan dismissed his concubines, and he married the most beautiful women of the harem to his nobles. Suleiman fulfilled every wish of Roksolana, and she became the first official wife of the Sultan.

From the report of the Englishman George Young, 1530

An event happened here this week, which the whole history of the local sultans does not know. The great ruler Suleiman, as an empress, took a slave from Russia named Roksolana, which was celebrated with a great festival.The wedding ceremony was held in the Seraglio, to which a feast was dedicated to an unprecedented scale. The streets of the city are flooded with light at night, and people are having fun everywhere. Houses are hung with garlands of flowers, swings are installed everywhere, and people swing on them for hours. In the old hippodrome, large stands were built with seats behind a gilded grille for the Empress and her courtiers. Roksolana with the ladies close to her watched the tournament, in which Christian and Muslim knights took part; musicians performed in front of the tribune, led wild animals, including outlandish giraffes with such long necks that they reached the sky … There are many different rumors about this wedding, but no one can explain what all this can mean.

From the report of the plenipotentiary envoy of the Habsburg court in Constantinople

Suleiman began to be spoken of as the first sultan who completely fell under the influence of a woman. The only flaw in Suleiman’s character is his excessive devotion to his wife. This charming and wayward woman led Suleiman for thirty-two years until her death.

From the book of Bassano da Zara

“Suit and Fashion in Turkey”

He loves her so much and is so faithful to her that everyone is amazed and repeats that she fascinated him, for which her name is nothing but a zhadi, or a witch.For this reason, the military and the judges hate both her and her children, but, seeing the love of the Sultan for her, they dare not grumble. I myself have heard many times how they curse her and her children all around, but they say good about the first wife and her children.

Jean Leon Gerome . Swimming pool in the harem

After the death of Hafs-Sultan, mother of Suleiman the Magnificent, Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska became a “star” in the palace, the only mistress of the harem. She gave birth to the sons of Mehmed, Selim, Bayazid and Jihangir, one after another, and the beautiful daughter Mihrimah.Yes, cunning and playful, she managed to make the Sultan fall in love with her. When Suleiman was away in the war, she wrote him long letters, expressing in them her deep love. She always began her letters like this: “My sultan, a particle of my heart, the sun of my state, the star of my happiness, my master.” Her letters made an indelible impression on the ruler of the empire. Suleiman’s letters to Khyurrem Sultan reflected his great love for his wife. He began his letters as follows: “The throne of my secluded corner, my beloved, my sincere beloved friend, my moonlight, the queen of beauties …” to the palace of a slave named Ibrahim, because he liked Ibrahim’s violin playing.They were the same age. When Suleiman moved to Istanbul, he asked Ibrahim to be with him. He bestowed the title of Pasha on Ibrahim and later appointed him Grand Vizier. Ibrahim was known in the empire as Makbul Ibrahim Pasha. The Sultan the Magnificent gave his sister Hatice Sultan to Ibrahim and handed over to them the palace recently built in Sultanahmet.

Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska was as ruthless as she was beautiful. She acted confidently, removing anyone who might pose a threat to her from her path.In the palace, only Ibrahim Pasha irritated her. He turned out to be the only person who did not give in to her persuasion. In addition, she was jealous of her husband’s affection for Ibrahim Pasha. But most importantly, Ibrahim supported Mustafa, the son of Mahidevran. That is why Khyurrem Sultan decided at all costs to get rid of Ibrahimapasha, who was interfering with her plans.

The Sultan was always on the side of Ibrahim Pasha, no matter what he did. Therefore, Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska was forced to patiently wait for the right moment – mistakes on the part of Ibrahim.She knew how to wait. To counterbalance Ibrahimupasha, his wife Khatija Sultan and Sheikh-zade Mustafa, Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska had to marry his daughter to someone with great power in order to form his own bloc with real power. Such a suitable person was the ruler of Diyarbakir, Rustem Pasha.

Information for the biography


Rustem Pasha was born in 1500 in the town of Skradin in Croatia into a Catholic family and was a Croat by nationality.As a child, he came to Istanbul with his brother, where they both received their education in a madrasah at the court, from where the military career of both brothers began. Already in 1526 Rustem became a squire at the Battle of Mohacs. Soon he received the post of mirahur (manager of the Sultan’s stable), as well as richab-agi, that is, a person who performed the honorary position of holding the stirrup of the sultan’s horse when he climbs into the saddle.

A little later, Rustem earned a promotion and became a beklerbek (a position corresponding to the mayor) of the city of Diyarbakir, located on the Tigris River, in northeastern Anatolia.In 1538 he continued his career and became a beylerbey (ruler) of all Anatolia.

But Rustem’s rapid career did not end there. Already in 1539, he became the third vizier under the Sultan, participating in the meetings of the divan. The Sultan greatly appreciated his new adviser, as contemporaries say, for his prudence and loyalty. The degree of trust and love on the part of Suleiman to Rustem can be fully appreciated, remembering that at the end of 1539, a wedding took place between Rustem Pasha and Mihrimahsultan, the beloved daughter of Sultan Suleiman and Haseki Khyurrem Sultan.

It is often said that it was Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska who married her daughter to Rustem Pasha, but it is worth recalling the rules and Islamic traditions of that time, according to which girls were married on the mother’s advice, but only with the consent of the bride’s father, who stipulated all the conditions for the upcoming marriage agreement (nikah). And this proves that, in any case, Rustem Pasha enjoyed great confidence on the part of the Sultan.

There is a legend about the marriage of Rustem Pasha and Mikhrimah Sultan, according to which, as soon as Mikhrimah reached the age of 12, Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska married her to Rustem Pasha, who took the place of Ibrahim, and that Rustem Pasha himself at that time was fulfilled for 50 years. But the almost 40-year age difference of the “newlyweds” did not bother Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska. As we know, Croat Rustem really was Suleiman I’s grand vizier and became the husband of the Sultan’s daughter, Princess Mihrimah Sultan. However, in fact, Rustem’s bride was 17, and the future grand vizier himself was not so old – he was only 39 years old.

Titian . Mihrimah

Mihrimah became a mother of three children, having given birth to two sons from Rustem (Osman Sultanzade-bey, as well as a second son, whose name, unfortunately, has not survived) and a daughter (Aishe Hyumashah khanum-sultan).The sons are buried in the famous large charitable complex named after her in Uskudar, erected between 1540 and 1548, which includes the coastal Uskudar Mosque, a Muslim educational institution – a madrasah, an elementary school and a hospital.

Mihrimakh became the heiress of her husband’s impressive fortune after his death, with the exception of the part that Rustem sent to the Khurrem Foundation so that the necessary funds were spent on the construction of public buildings, mosques and structures. We also remind that Rustem Pasha bequeathed in 1561 in case of his death his wife Mihrimah Sultan, as well as daughter Aishe Khyumash khanum-sultan, bequeathed to act as executors of his will in the implementation of all social and charitable projects that he started (primary schools, madrassas, hospitals , caravanserais, public fountains, paved roads and free bridges).

Mihrimah completely fulfilled the last will of her husband. Moreover, she personally supervised the construction of the Rustem Pasha mosque in Istanbul, which was erected in the period from 1561 to 1563 on his initiative according to the project of the architect Sinan, after the death of Rustem Pasha.

Mihrimah Sultan died on January 25, 1578, at the age of 56. She became the only child of Sultan Suleiman who was honored to be buried in Suleiman’s turban, which confirms how close she was to her father, as well as how significant she remained in the history of the Ottoman Empire itself.

In 1562, the same Sinan, on the highest hill of Constantinople, in the area of ​​the old fortress gates of Edirnekapi, began to build a complex that includes the Mihrimah-Sultan mosque, a fountain, baths and a madrasah.

Most often, the mosque in Edirnekapı is mentioned as an example of the architectural genius of Mimar Sinan. Mihrimah Sultan, being a rich woman, personally ordered this mosque to Sinan. Traditionally, mosques named after persons of the ruling dynasty had two minarets, but Mihrimakh, grieving over her widowhood, wished that this mosque had only one minaret, as a sign of its loneliness after the death of her husband. It was in this “edition” that the mosque was erected and still stands today.

The largest number of rumors and fictions about the life of Mihrimah concern her supposedly existing admirers.The first is considered – most likely thanks to the film “The Magnificent Century” – Tashlyjaly Yahya-bey, a poet, warrior and adviser to Sheikh-zade Mustafa. But in historical sources not a single mention of any connection of this person with Mihrimah Sultan was found. The archives have not preserved a single letter from the amorous poet who lived in Manisa, far from Topkapi, addressed to Mihrimah Sultan, not a single direct mention of her in poetry. The only reliable role that Tashlyjaly played in the life of Mihrimakh was participation in the Rustem Pasha conflict after the death of Sheikh-zade Mustafa in 1553, for which he was eventually expelled by Rustem outside the empire.I must say, he got off easy.

Another alleged admirer of Mihrimah is the architect Sinan, who allegedly asked for the hand of the sovereign’s daughter after he became the main architect of Istanbul. He erected many buildings of the Ottoman Empire on her orders, but nothing more. During the years when Sinan was actively working, Mihrimah Sultan was already married to Rustem Pasha.

If we talk about Rustem’s personality, then contemporaries spoke of him as a person who created himself out of nothing.

From a secret letter to the Venetian Doge from Ambassador Bernardo Navaguerro

Rustem Pasha is distinguished by great insight, perhaps he was born for the position he occupies. He is quite affable and friendly, although he never shows his emotions. And no one can be wished for the best to the Ottoman ruler Suleiman – one can hardly find such a wise adviser as the acting Grand Vizier.

A number of researchers consider Rustem Pasha a very controversial person and, calling him a master of political intrigue, on the other hand, note that he was incredibly loyal to the sovereign and in no way participated in any forms of corruption and conspiracies.According to 16th century observers, he was “a model of good behavior, sobriety and piety.” In the TV series “The Magnificent Age”, the grand vizier is bred by a true devil in the flesh, on which, in today’s language, there is nowhere to put samples. As for the public opinion of that time, the negative image of Rustem Pasha was formed after the poet Tashlyjaly Yahya wrote and disseminated his poem dedicated to the execution of his close friend Sheikh-zada Mustafa. In this work, he accused Rustem of conspiracy and complicity in the murder of the heir, calling the grand vizier a devil.

What was the real role of Rustem Pasha in all that happened? It was 1552, when Rustem Pasha was appointed a serasker (supreme military leader) in another military campaign against Persia and the Safavid dynasty. Rustem Pasha arrived in the southeast of the Ottoman Empire, from where he sent letters to the Sultan regarding some unrest, clearly visible among the Janissaries, who began to increasingly wonder whether it was time to replace the existing ruler with someone younger and more capable.Suleiman was disturbed by the message received from Rustem through the cavalry commander, since the news was also added to the letter that Mustafa was in active correspondence with representatives of the ruling Persian dynasty who could help him in the rebellion against his father. At the same time, he uses a seal with the signature “Sultan Mustafa” in his correspondence (it has survived to this day). Suleiman was beside himself. The Persian campaign was canceled. Already in the next summer of 1553, Suleiman himself led the campaign of an army that went to the east, ordering Mustafa to appear at the court as soon as possible.

Sheikh-zadeh appeared on October 6, 1553 in the city of Konya. It was there that Mustafa was executed by order of the Sultan.

After what happened, a revolt of the Janissaries broke out. Despite the fact that Tashlyjaly, according to the memoirs of contemporaries, was not a particularly authoritative person and a very mediocre poet, this time his disturbing poems and popular rumor fueled the anger of the rebels, directed not so much against the Sultan as against Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska (who was already called a witch ) and her son-in-law, the grand vizier.Suleiman decided to reduce the heat of the masses and removed Rustem from his post, having seized the seal of the grand vizier from him. At the same time, no other measures were applied to him, moreover, the sultan retained for him all the privileges provided for this position. One way or another, Rustem was returned to a high position two years later, in 1555.

In turn, European diplomats and travelers considered Rustem Pasha to be a man of a sharp, perceptive mind. And this is confirmed by the historical fact – the greatest success of the Pasha in the position of Grand Vizier was the conclusion in 1547 of a five-year truce with King Ferdinand I, with the signing of which even Emperor Charles V agreed.One of the conditions of this agreement was that the Ottoman Empire was paid an annual tribute of 30 thousand ducats.

Almost all the financial operations of the empire were directed and controlled by Rustem Pasha. He himself had several plots and estates, which he actively involved in a project to restore and develop agriculture in the empire. He also established trade with Europe and India through the signing of a number of trade agreements.

By the end of his life, Rustem owned 815 land plots in Rumelia and Anatolia, 476 mills, 2900 horses, 1106 camels, 600 silver-decorated saddles, 130 pairs of golden spurs, 769 ornate swords, 5000 books, 800 of which were skillfully made by the Korans (Rustem was a very devout man), 32 of which were trimmed with precious stones, and about two million akce in cash.

Recall that after Rustem’s death most of this incredible wealth was inherited by his widow, Mihrimah, but Rustem sent part of his fortune to the Khyurrem Sultan Foundation.

Before Rustem, in the history of the Ottoman Empire, there was not a single grand vizier who would participate in the management of the corresponding charitable foundations, thereby supporting the development of religious and social infrastructure. These funds were usually located in two main cities – Istanbul and Edirne.They were an important factor in stimulating production, economy and trade. In particular, the production of silk and the silk trade aroused great interest in the Grand Vizier. He promoted the silk factories of Bursa and Istanbul and founded the Sarajevo bazaar in 1551 as a center for the silk trade.

As for the architectural structures, among the most famous, of course, you can highlight the Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul. It was built at his behest and according to the project of the architect Sinan, after the death of Rustem. Other major construction projects include the Juma complex, the mosque in Rodosto (now Tekirdag) and the Rustem Pasha Caravanserai in Erzurum.

Rustem Pasha died on July 10, 1561 from dropsy and was buried in the mausoleum in the courtyard of the Sheikh-zade mosque in Istanbul, next to the elder half-brother of Mihrimah, Mehmed.

But all this will not be soon, but until after the wedding an excellent trio has formed. Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska planned to put on the throne after Suleiman one of her sons. Mustafa had to get rid of, but before that she had to organize the murder of Ibrahim Pasha.From her point of view, this favorite was too spoiled by the Sultan. Although Ibrahim Pasha was married to the daughter of the Sultan, he had a secret mistress and wrote letters to her. During one of his trips to Iraq, he wrote two letters: one to his wife, the other to his mistress. Unfortunately, the recipients were mixed when sending the letters. The wife, having received a letter addressed to her mistress, flew into a rage, and the palace condemned the offense of Ibrahim Pasha. In addition, the words of Ibrahim Pasha to one messenger that “my word is more authoritative than the Sultan’s” sounded like a sentence to the grand vizier.When he signed one document as “Minister of War”, Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska convinced the Sultan of the need to put an end to Ibrahim. It was said that some letters were found, which spoke of a secret agreement between Ibrahim Pasha and Emperor Charles V.

Sultan Suleiman made the final decision. One evening, as we have already told about this in the first part, he invited Ibrahim Pasha “with an overnight stay” in the palace, ordered to kill him, and he was strangled in bed.

This text is an introductory fragment.

Continuation for liters

90,000 Harem. Sultan’s wives. – cogito ergo sum, or notes of a blonde – LiveJournal

The number of kadyn-effendi (the sultan’s wives) varied from 4 to 8. The first wife was called the chief (bash-kadyn), the rest, respectively, were the second, third, fourth, etc. The Kadyn-effendi lived in their special rooms with a personal servant.In the event of the death of one of the wives, one of the ikbalas took her place. The sultan personally chose the girl with the help of the chief eunuch.

The new Kadyn Effendi received a written confirmation of her status, new clothes were ordered for her, and then a separate room was allocated. The main keeper and her assistants introduced her to the course of palace traditions. In the XVI-XVIII centuries. Kadyn-effendi who had children were called Haseki. For the first time this title was awarded to his wife Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

The sultans spent the nights with whoever they wanted, but they were obliged to spend the night from Friday to Saturday with only one of their wives – this was the order sanctified by the tradition of Islam.If the wife was not with her husband for three Fridays in a row, she had the right to turn to the qadi (judge). The sequence of meetings of the Sultan with his wives was followed by a keeper.
Despite the fact that the order of visiting the Sultan was strictly observed, it never occurred to either of the wives that the Sultan loved them equally. In the harem, it was known that 90,230 the Sultan adores some and neglects others.
So, Suleiman the Magnificent first married Mahidevran, but then fell in love with Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, began to pamper her and devote more time to her, which caused quarrels and serious quarrels between the two women.There is a case when Makhidevran once struck Khyurrem – the Sultan found out about this and immediately ordered to send her along with her son Mustafa to Manisa for permanent residence.
And Gulnush Sultan, the eldest wife of Avji Mehmed, pushed her rival new concubine Gulbeyaz off the cliff, to whom the Sultan began to devote more time than his wife.
It is known that at times the wives had such a strong influence on the sultans that they interfered in the affairs of the state. There is also information that in certain periods the valid-sultan (mothers of the sultans) ruled the state and significantly influenced who could ascend the throne.This situation in the Ottoman state was called the “Women’s Sultanate”.
Despite their high position in the hierarchical system of the harem, the kadyn-effendi were obliged to behave with the sultan with great respect: they could not sit in his presence or speak without permission, call their husband “you”. For them, the Sultan was primarily the only ruler of the Ottoman Empire and the sovereign of the Islamic world.

Kadyn-effendi’s sons called their sons “my lord” or “my lion” in a more private setting, they had to get up when they appeared.As a sign of respect, the princes kissed the hand of Kadyn Effendi, regardless of age. The women of the harem, in order to show their respect, kissed the hem of the skirt of the Kadyn Effendi.
In their relations with each other, the sultan’s wives observed a number of formalities: when one of the wives wanted to talk to the other, she sent a maid to her to obtain consent. The Sultan’s wife, riding in a carriage, was accompanied by foot eunuchs. If all the wives left at the same time, then their carriages were accompanied by the seniority of the owners and they rode in the same order of seniority.

The wives of the Sultan paid great attention to their own appearance. They watched the hair especially carefully: for this they had special maids who combed and braided their hair, weaved ribbons into them and fastened hairpins made of precious stones. The combs were made of velvet fabric, embroidered with pearls or diamonds, or a gold brooch was attached to them.

Roksolana (Hurrem Sultan) – biography, photo, personal life, Sultan Suleiman, “Magnificent Century”


Ukrainian girl Roksolana took her place in the history of the Ottoman Empire thanks to a difficult path.The girl was captured, then into the harem of the Sultan Suleiman, gained respect, removed rivals from the path and won the favor of the ruler. Roksolana converted to Islam and received a new name Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska.

Childhood and adolescence

There is no reliable information about the childhood of Roksolana, the future wife of the Sultan. There are many rumors around the girl’s origin, but it is not known which of them are close to the truth. For example, the ambassador of the Holy Roman Empire seriously said during a visit to the Ottoman Empire that Roksolana was born in the Commonwealth.Thanks to this, the girl received such an unusual name. In those years, the city of Roksolania was among the Polish lands.

Portrait of Roksolana

Another ambassador who arrived from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania opposed this. According to his history, it is said that Roksolana comes from the village of Rohatyn, which is located in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine. The ambassador put forward a version that the girl’s father was a local priest.

This version has proven popular in fiction. According to the writers, the Sultan’s wife was named Alexander or Anastasia, she was really born in the family of the priest Gavrila Lisovsky.

Captivity and the sultan’s harem

Crimean Tatars raided regularly. The criminals seized gold, food and even local girls. So Roksolana was captured. Later, the future wife of the Sultan was resold, after which the girl ended up in Suleiman’s harem. In those years, the man was in the civil service in Manisa. The sultan has not yet ascended to the throne of the Ottoman Empire.

According to some reports, Roksolana was presented to Suleiman in honor of his accession to the throne. After getting into the harem, the girl changed her name to Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, which translated from Persian as “funny”.Historians have calculated that Roksolana was no more than 15 years old at this time.

Roksolana in the sultan’s harem

The sultan’s attention was riveted on the new concubine, but another girl from the harem, Makhidevran, did not like it. The woman gave birth to Suleiman’s son Mustafa. The concubine showed jealousy in different ways. Once the girls had a fight. Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska appeared with wounds on her face, scraps of hair were torn out, and her dress was torn.

Despite this, Roksolana was invited to the Sultan’s chambers. The girl refused to visit, but Suleiman could not stand such an attitude, so the beaten Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska appeared before the ruler.The man listened to the story and made the injured girl his beloved concubine.


Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska sought not just to have children from the Sultan. It was important for Roksolana to be recognized in the palace. The first step in this direction was the fight against the rival Mahidevran. The girl was helped by Suleiman’s mother, Khafis. The woman restrained the anger of the concubine, not allowing her to attack the young favorite of her son.

Portrait of Roksolana

All sons, except Mustafa, die at a young age. In conditions of high infant mortality, this became a real problem, since in the end there would be no one for Suleiman to transfer the throne.For Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska it was a matter of honor to give birth to sons to the ruler. The girl believed that this would help to gain support in the palace. And she was not mistaken. Roksolana was named the Sultan’s favorite.

The Valide Sultan of Hafis dies, so there was no one to restrain the concubine’s anger. Suleiman had no choice but to send Mahidevran with the adult Mustafa to Manisa. The Russian girl achieved the consolidation of power in the palace.

The Sultan’s wife

Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska became the first concubine whom the Sultan married.Previously, such a development of events was impossible. From that day on, the girl is not just a favorite in the harem, but Suleiman’s wife. Interestingly, the traditions in the Ottoman Empire did not imply such an outcome. The wedding was played in accordance with local traditions. Especially for Roksolana, the Sultan introduced a new title into everyday life – Haseki. The concept emphasized the uniqueness of the girl and her position. Earlier, the wife of the ruler was called khatun.

Roksolana and the Sultan

Suleiman spent a lot of time outside the palace, but remained aware of all the affairs thanks to letters from Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska.The notes that the beloved wrote to each other have survived to this day. They retained an unearthly love that settled in the hearts of the Sultan and Roksolana. But the spouses did not bypass political issues either. At first, for Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, the letters were compiled by the court clerk because of her poor knowledge of the language, but later the girl learned to read and write.

Roksolana’s letter in Turkish

In the palace, Roksolana’s power was respected by everyone, even Suleiman’s mother. Once from the sanjak-beys, two Russian slaves were given as a gift to the Sultan – one to the mother, and the second to the ruler.Valide wanted to give her gift to her son, but then she saw Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska’s discontent, apologized to the girl and took the gift back. As a result, the slave remained with Khafisa, and the second was handed over to another Sanjak Bey. Haseki categorically did not want to see slaves in the palace.

Hammam, built by order of Roksolana

The crown on his head obliged Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska to meet with ambassadors, to answer letters from foreign rulers. The clever girl gave birth to children to the Sultan, but did not forget about personal growth and development, so she communicated with influential nobles and artists.Thanks to Roksolana, the number of baths, mosques and madrasahs has increased in Istanbul.

Personal life

Six children were born in the family of the Sultan and Khyurrem: 5 sons and a daughter. Fortunately, there were some among them to inherit the Ottoman Empire. This is about Selim. Mehmed died in 1543 after a long illness. It was smallpox. Dzhikhangir did not have good health, so the young man died at a young age. The guy could get sick because of longing for his brother Mustafa, who was executed.

Monument to Roksolana

There were a lot of rumors around this situation. Many in the palace claimed that Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska had a hand in the execution of the eldest son of Suleiman. The Sultan gave the order to kill Mustafa.

Bayazid, the fourth son of the ruler from Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, fiercely hated his brother Selim. The guy gathered a 12,000-strong army and tried to kill a relative. The attempt failed, and Bayezid was forced to flee to Persia. The son of Suleiman was dubbed a traitor to the Ottoman Empire. In those years, the countries were at enmity, but after the conclusion of peace and payment in the amount of 400 thousand gold coins of the people who supported, Bayazid was killed.The young man and his four sons were handed over into the hands of the Sultan. In 1561, the death sentence passed by Suleiman was carried out.


There are many blank spots in the biography of Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, but the description of death has survived to our time. For a long time, Roksolana was in Edirne. After returning to the palace, the woman dies in the arms of the Sultan. According to some reports, death occurred as a result of poisoning with a potent poison, but there is no medical confirmation of this.

Roksolana Mausoleum

A year later, a special mausoleum was created, on which the architect Mimara Sinan worked. The object was named after the sultan’s wife. The mausoleum was decorated with Iznik ceramic tiles, which depict the Gardens of Eden and poems. The tomb of Roksolana is located in the immediate vicinity of the Suleiman mausoleum, on the left side of the mosque.

The “Suleymaniye” complex includes not only the tomb of Khyurrem and the Sultan, but also the grave of Khanym – Sultan, daughter of Khatije-Sultan, sister of Suleiman.

The image in culture

The image of Roksolana is actively used in literature, theater, music and cinema. In 1835, Nestor Kukolnik wrote the poem “Roksolana, a drama in five acts in verse.” Later, the story “Roksolana, or Anastasia Lisovskaya” was published. The author of the work is Mikhail Orlovsky. Writers tried to tell their version of the origin, life and death of the wife of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Until now, this topic does not give rest to writers and historians.

Several times on the stages of Ukrainian and even French theaters performances were staged on the theme of the life and reign of Khyurrem Sultan.In 1761 the actors performed the play “Les Trois Sultanes ou Soliman Second”, later in Ukraine the play “Roksolana” was shown twice.

According to some estimates, about 20 pieces of music have been written about Suleiman’s wife, including “63 Symphony” by Joseph Haydn, Alexander Kostin’s opera “Suleiman and Roksolana, or Love in a Harem”, the rock opera “I am Roksolana” Arnold Svyatogorov and Stepan Galyabard.

Numerous serials filmed about the life of Khyurrem Sultan pale before the work of Turkish directors.We are talking about the television series “The Magnificent Century”. The role of Roksolana was played by the wonderful actress Meryem Uzerli. The specialists working on the picture compared the artist’s photos and images with Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska and came to the conclusion that the girls are alike.

Meriem Uzerli as Roksolana in the TV series “Magnificent Century”

The writer brought together sources that contained information about life in the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman, Roksolana, reworked and created an incredible series that won the hearts of millions of viewers.Luxurious outfits, expensive jewelry, the wealth of the palace – this attracts spectators from all over the world. Interesting cuts of videos from the TV series scattered across the Internet.

In the “Magnificent Century” Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska appears as a powerful young woman who sets a goal for herself, achieves what she wants, regardless of obstacles. Roksolana immediately understood what she wanted. There was only one desire – to become the wife of the Sultan, and not just to be a favorite, a concubine of the ruler.

The girl removed her rivals, won the respect of Suleiman’s mother and the local government.Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska did the impossible – from a concubine she turned into a wife and assistant to the Sultan, gave birth to the heirs of the Ottoman Empire, won the love of Suleiman.

The viewers will remember the Turkish series, based on the biography of the Sultan’s wife, the film “Roksolana: the bloody path to the throne” was shot. Historians have dubbed the tape pseudo-documentary, since too many facts presented as true did not correspond to reality.

Characters | Magnificent Century



Concubine of Suleiman.She was killed by Sadyka.



Bali Bey’s wife, died of plague the day after the wedding.



Nurse of Sultan Suleiman. Khaznedar harem.

Ayaz Mehmed Pasha


Second Vizier during the time of Ibrahim Pasha. Later, the 32nd Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire. Supporter of Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska Sultan.

Beykhan Sultan


Sister of Sultan Suleiman, wife of the executed vizier Ferhat Pasha.



Harem eunuch and faithful servant Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska Sultan. He was expelled from the harem by order of Mahidevran Sultan.

Gulfem Khatun


Concubine of the Sultan and friend of Hatice Sultan.Khaznedar harem.



Servant Mahidevran Sultan, later served with Khyurrem Sultan. She was killed by Nigar-kalfa during an attempt on the life of Hatice Sultan.



Personal servant of Valide and khaznedar of the harem.After his death, Valide leaves the harem and commits suicide.

Defne Sultan


Favorite of Shehzade Bayazid after the death of Khurijihan. Former spy for Nurbanu. Shehzade Mehmed’s mother.

Kara Ahmed Pasha


36th Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.The second husband of Fatma Sultan.



The main harem aha. Keeper of the Sultan’s chambers. Later agha Bayezid. Killed by the Persians.



Former fiancé of Alexandra, artist.He fell victim to the intrigues of Ibrahim Pasha.

Lutfi Pasha


33rd Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire. Shah Sultan’s husband.

Malkochoglu Bali Bay


Warrior of the Ottoman army, later the keeper of the Sultan’s chambers.He was removed from office, returned to his homeland.

Matrakchi Nasuh


Miniaturist. Friend of Ibrahim Pasha, fiancé of Sadyki, ex-husband of Nigar-kalfa. Author Suleiman-name

Makhpeiker Kyosem Sultan (Anastasia)


Favorite, and later wife of Sultan Ahmed I, mother of Shehzade Mehmed, Shehzade Murad, Shehzade Kasym, Shehzade Ibrahim and Sultan Aishe Sultan, Fatma Sultan, Gevkherkhan Sultan, Khanzade Sultan, Atike Sultan.

Mehmed Giray


Khanzade Mehmed, Kalga of the Crimean Khanate in exile. Brother Shahin Geraya.

Mihrimah Sultan


The only daughter of Sultan Suleiman and Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, second child, wife of the Grand Vizier Rustem Pasha.

Nigar Kalfa


The eldest kalfa of the harem of Sultan Suleiman, for a long time was the mistress of Ibrahim Pasha, after which she was married to Rustem Pasha.

Nurbanu Sultan


Concubine of Shehzade Selim.Shehzadeh Murad’s mother, Esmekhan Sultan, Gevkherkhan Sultan and Shah Sultan.

Pargaly Ibrahim Pasha


Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, close friend of Sultan Suleiman and worst enemy of Hürrem.

Rustem Pasha


Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, husband of Mihrimah Sultan and son-in-law of Sultan Suleiman.

Sadika-Khatun (Victoria)


Bride of the Hungarian warrior. I came to the palace to take revenge on the padishah for the death of her beloved. She was drowned on the orders of Ibrahim Pasha by Nasukh Efendi.

Safiye Sultan


Wife of Sultan Murad, Valide Sultan with his son Sultan Mehmed, grandmother of Sultan Ahmed.

Sokollu Mehmed Pasha


Chief Gatekeeper, then Kapudan Pasha after Barbarossa. 39th and 41st Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.

Sultan Ahmed


The 13th ruler of the Ottoman Empire, ascended the throne at the age of thirteen, the son of Mehmed III and Handan Sultan.



Eunuch of the harem, later a faithful assistant and friend of Khyurrem Sultan. The owner of the first coffee shop in Istanbul. After the death of Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, faithful assistant and friend Mihrimah Sultan.

Tashlyjaly Yahya


Warrior, poet, in love with Mihrimah Sultan.Friend of Shehzade Mustafa.

Fatma Sultan


Sister of Sultan Suleiman, wife of the Grand Vizier Kara Ahmed Pasha.



Shehzade Mustafa’s concubine and maid Mahidevran Sultan.Shehzade Suleiman’s mother. Lost her mind and committed suicide after the death of the child.

Fakhriye Sultan


Youngest daughter of Valide Safiye Sultan and Sultan Mehmed.

Fakhriye-kalfa (Diana)


Former maid Mahidevran Sultan, Kalfa Khyurrem Sultan.After the death of Afife-Khatun becomes Khaznedar. Later Kalfa Selim in Manisa.



Favorite of Sultan Suleiman. She concealed that she was a representative of the Safavid dynasty – rivals of the Ottoman Empire. Expelled from the palace.

Hatice Sultan


Sister of Sultan Suleiman, wife of the Grand Vizier Ibrahim Pasha.

Hyusrev Pasha


Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, third husband of Hatice Sultan.

90,000 biography and true love story

Sultan Suleiman and Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska. Probably, there are not many people now who, at least out of the way, have not heard this amazing and touching love story. For almost 5 centuries, she has made us worry, admire, admire and, perhaps, even envy her real heroes a little.

Especially after the Turkish TV series The Magnificent Century was released some time ago, which immediately won the hearts of millions of fans around the world. The film is based on the incredible, but reliable story of the life and death of Khyurrem Sultan and Suleiman.

Since this popular event passed me by, and I did not watch a single episode, it will be easier to dive into what happened in the relationship of a couple in love in real life, and not be based on facts invented by filmmakers, ready to embellish any plot with colorful inventions …

Contents of the article

Questions that are already 500 years old

In fact, despite such an all-encompassing fame, there are many mysteries and secrets in this love story, which means legends and conjectures. It’s just amazing, but before she got into the harem, nothing is known about this woman named Roksolana or Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska.

There are no historical or documentary facts that could tell us the whole truth about the girl’s life before the harem.Even her real name, date of birth, where she is from and where she was born, no one knows. This gave people a reason to come up with some legends about her birthday, zodiac sign, nationality most suitable for the time and circumstances.

More or less accurate information – records of that time of foreign ambassadors, and popular speculation – all agree on the girl’s Slavic origin.

Although the residents of Turkey have a different opinion. Well, in general, this is not surprising. They believe that Roksolana was a Turkish woman.And the parents sent the girl to the harem, not having enough money to support her. Well, let’s not argue. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Freedom of speech, so to speak.

But the main question is still how could a girl who fell into a foreign country as a “living commodity” not only take possession of the heart of the almighty sultan, but also change the course of history of the great Ottoman Empire. How did she manage to rewrite the rules, traditions and customs of this country, which existed and were sacredly observed for centuries?

Let’s look for that “zest” that became the hallmark of Alexandra Anastasia Khyurrem-Roksolana (under this name she is known to us), this outstanding personality and allowed her owner to enter world history

The main characters of our story

The life of the girl Anastasia

According to the most common version, the girl’s name was Alexandra or Anastasia Gavrilovna Lisovskaya.The years of life are also approximate. 1502 or 1505 is the year she was born. The date of death of Hürrem Haseki Sultan is 15 or 18 April 1558.

Anastasia was born, again, according to unconfirmed data, in the city of Rohatyn – this is present-day Ukraine, in the family of an Orthodox priest. This is the basis of the name that she received in the harem – Roksolana. It was Roksolania that the lands were called in those distant years, from which Anastasia, where she had a fiancé Luke, was kidnapped by the Tatars and brought to Constantinople.

So a new period in the girl’s life began. As a result of several resales, she ended up with a merchant, to whom the Vizier of the Sultan Ibrahim Pasha accidentally dropped in. He was looking for an expensive gift for the Sultan on the occasion of his accession to the throne. After bargaining with the merchant about the price of Anastasia, he accidentally mentioned that he was going to give her to the future ruler of the country.

Hearing this, the owner of the “product” completely refused to pay: it was an honor for him to serve the Sultan himself and, besides, for his business it was not superfluous and very good advertising.This is something to pay special attention to: the girl was not bought as a slave.

Subsequently, this turned out to be a very important nuance in her life, which allowed the Sultan to officially marry her as a free woman. But this is still far away, but for now … Nastya became a prisoner of Sultan Suleiman.

Meet the Sultan

Suleiman was born on November 6, 1494 in the family of Sultan Selim and his concubine. Years of life of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent: 1494-1566.

There were no more sons in the family, so Suleiman did not have to worry about the succession to the throne, and his father Sultan Selim did not have to worry about the continuation of the dynasty.But Suleiman had, according to various sources, from five to ten sisters.

The names of only five of them have come down to us: Hatice Sultan, who later became the wife of Ibrahim Pasha; Beykhan Sultan, Fatma Sultan, Shahi Sultan and Hafsa Sultan. What was the name of the others and whether they even existed at all is not known for sure.

Suleiman was an intelligent, fair man, but he was distinguished by excessive suspicion. He patronized people of art and wrote poetry himself, was a master of blacksmithing and even took a personal part in the ebb of cannons.In addition, he was attracted to jewelry.

Suleiman was called Magnificent by the people for a reason. He built bridges, houses, mosques, schools, hospitals. One of its buildings, the Suleymaniye Mosque, is still one of the largest and most beautiful in Istanbul, along with the delightful Blue Mosque.

But he could be different too. In the fight against bribery and embezzlement, Suleiman was ruthless and cruel. If the official was really guilty of this, then nothing – neither noble relatives, nor extensive connections – nothing could save him from the executioner on the orders of the Sultan.

But wars and campaigns of conquest, in which Suleiman-1 personally participated as a skillful strategist and military leader, were his passion, as there are facts of history about. In the 16th century, Suleiman 1 unleashed and waged wars with the most powerful states of that time. And the decisions he always made spoke of the wisdom and foresight of the sultan-sovereign. As a result, hostilities ended with his victory or, often, an armistice, but on favorable terms for his country.

Life in a harem

How to attract the attention of the padishah and stay alive

Anastasia Lisovskaya got into the harem at the age of 15.For her cheerful, cheerful character, she received the name Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, which in translation means: smiling, bringing joy. Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska understood that she needed to attract the attention of the padishah. But how to do this if you are surrounded by hundreds of beauties from all over the world? And she came up with.

And she did it in a very original way. During the dance, when all the concubines performed a dance for Suleiman, she went to the middle of the circle, began to dance in front of the Sultan and sing. With her melodious voice, she sang a song in her native language.

It was a bold, even daring act. For such willfulness, they could be punished very severely. There is a known case when, after a night spent in the Sultan’s bedroom, one of the concubines twitched anxiously in her sleep. She had a terrible dream. And the suspicious Suleiman, thinking that the girl wanted to kill him, immediately strangled her. So the sleeping beauty did not even have time to wake up and understand: what, in fact, is her fault?

But this time Sultan Suleiman liked the courage of Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, and he paid close attention to the girl.This was the beginning of the first date and the deployment of further relationships. Therefore, the episode where Roksolana dances in front of the Sultan is so popular in historical films and in paintings by artists.

And you will meet when you do not expect. And you will not find where you are looking

Roksolana was cheerful and cheerful. And what happened happened: the sultan liked the lovely songstress. So there was the first meeting of Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska and Suleiman, followed by their first night together.

A new period began in the young woman’s personal life.Roksolana and Suleiman loved each other very much. For hours they could talk about love, discuss some issues, walk and talk about the past, future and present.

Suleiman used to have several concubines. But when he met Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, she became his first and only wife. Over time, Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska became his main adviser in political affairs.

Diamond ring and other women’s things

The Sultan often gave his beloved gifts, jewelry, earrings, ornaments.The ring of Khyurrem Sultan, a gift from Suleiman, has survived to this day. Nowadays, it is in the Topkapi Palace Treasure Museum.

This was one of the first gifts of a man in love. For those around him, he symbolized the power and special position of Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska in the palace, and for her it became a symbol of deep feelings that arose between two loving hearts.

The original of the ring is a large diamond framed by 49 smaller diamonds and is, of course, fabulous money.After the death of Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, the history of the ring did not end. Nurbanu, the wife of Selim, began to own it, and after that it was transmitted through the female line.

This was the real wedding ring Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, which became for her a symbol of eternal love. And it was not an emerald ring as shown in The Magnificent Age. Maybe there was an emerald ring of Roxolana, but it did not have the same meaning for her as a ring with a diamond. Most likely, this is just a successful invention of the writers of The Magnificent Century.

In addition, in the Topkapi Museum you can see other things Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska: delightful outfits, dresses embroidered with gold Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, scarves, crowns, brooches.

Letters from two lovers

But not this – gifts and luxury – Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska wanted. She wanted to spend every minute, every second next to her lover. But Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent was the 10th ruler of the great Ottoman Empire. State affairs, and besides, frequent military campaigns, which he personally led, demanded his attention.

The letters that Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska and the Sultan wrote to each other when they were far from each other have survived. The very first letters, when Roksolana still did not know the language well enough, were written under her dictation by the court clerk. But, thanks to her mind and assertive character, soon Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska was able to write letters to her beloved Suleiman herself.

In them she spoke words about her love and longing in separation from him. And the sultan answered her in kind. In his letters, the Turkish sultan called his beloved as only the only beloved woman is called: a bright month, a tulip, the embodiment of his dream, the mistress of his heart.

Struggle for power or Struggle for life

But, at the same time, the love of the Shah and Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska aroused the envy and jealousy of other concubines, so one could expect an attack by rivals at any time. Especially furious was Mahidevran, who was Suleiman’s favorite before Roksolana’s appearance in the palace. Circassian or Albanian by origin, she attacked and beat Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska: she scratched her opponent’s face, tore her dress and pulled out a tuft of hair.

And one more circumstance disturbed Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska: Makhidevran already had a son from the Sultan – Mustafa.Roksolana also had sons, whose father was Suleiman. But according to the law, Mustafa, as the eldest son, had more rights to the throne, he was the main heir to the throne.

And in this case, if not her son, but Mustafa sits on the throne, then neither Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska nor her children had to expect anything good – they were all subject to destruction. Such thoughts prompted Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska to take decisive action.

The path to power is strewn with corpses

At this time, in 1534, the Valide Sultan, Suleiman’s mother, died.Why the sultan? Probably, according to tradition, all the relatives of the Sultan in his family wore such an addition to the name, which marked the high position of a person in society.

Soon, by order of Sultan Suleiman Khan Khazret Leri, Ibrahim Pasha, the chief vizier and childhood friend of Suleiman, was executed. He was suspected of high treason. Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska and Ibrahim immediately disliked each other.

There is even a version according to which Ibrahim Pasha bought Roksolana for himself. But she turned out to be very obstinate, and the man did not find any better solution to the problem than to give her to the sultan’s harem.Well, they say, let her re-educate herself there. And then Roksolana took revenge on him all her life, as best she could. And he, too, did not remain in debt – he invented various intrigues to the concubine.

Personally, I somehow do not believe in this version. All this is very implausible. And you? Maybe someone will decide that this option also deserves attention?

So, according to one very widespread version, Roksolana played a large role in the execution of the chief vizier. His elimination was her first step towards her main goal – to remove Mustafa from the road that leads to the throne of the Ottoman Empire for her sons.And now no one could prevent her from achieving this goal.

To the new vizier Rustam Pasha Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska was supportive … for the time being. But plans for his life differed little from those for Ibrahim. Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska gave her daughter, who by that time was 12 years old, married to Rustam Pasha. Thus, she managed to kill 2 birds with one stone: she convinced the vizier of her favor and, at the same time, introduced “her man” into his house.

Some time later, he and Rustam Pasha were able to convince Suleiman of Mustafa’s conspiracy against him.And Mustafa, by order of his father, was strangled. And soon Rustam Pasha followed him, also not avoiding the intrigues of his mother-in-law, who already possessed incredible power. A few days after the death of Mustafa, his son, who, at that time, was only 7 years old, was also executed.

But the sultana did not rest on this either. Having thoroughly studied the laws of this country, owning the heart of the “ruler of half the world”, she skillfully managed the ministers and officials she needed at the palace. Finishing the topic of intrigues and cunning tricks of the Hürrem Haseki Sultan, I will say that by her order, more than forty sons of Suleiman, who lived in different parts of the state, were found and strangled.

For the sake of justice, it’s worth saying that Mustafa, according to some information, really was preparing a conspiracy against his father. The proof of this is a letter to the Persian Shah, in which the Shehzade negotiates with him the terms of a coup d’état. But nothing has been proven for sure.

Wedding and other broken traditions

At this time Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska was able to do what no woman in the history of the country could do before her: she became the official wife of the Sultan. This was an unprecedented, unique experience.Although there was no law that the Sultan should not marry a concubine, there have never been such examples in the history of the Ottoman Empire.

The exact date of the wedding ceremony – in Turkish it is called nikah – is not known to us. In some sources, 1530 is called, in others – 1534. But, probably, the Sultan’s wedding was celebrated with that pomp and luxury that is possible. Especially for his beloved, the Sultan even introduced a new title – Haseki, which spoke of her high position.

Marriage is not the only tradition that Roxolana broke.Before her, according to the centuries-old custom, after the heir of the padishah reached the age of majority, he and his mother left for a remote province. There he lived, was brought up and studied before accession to the throne in place of his father. But Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska did not leave with any of the sons, only sometimes she visited them. She always stayed close to her husband.

Unable to explain in any way such a supernatural influence of the former concubine, contemporaries accused her of even that she bewitched Suleiman. Well, in general, it’s easier that way.The new, the unfamiliar always scares us. And they declared it witchcraft, and everyone understood everything …

Philanthropist and entrepreneur Khyurrem

Despite all the difficult circumstances that Roksolana-Khyurrem Sultan went through, the biography of this woman is simply filled with bright events and deeds. She was a kind and wise ruler.

Unlike their predecessors, who could build charitable institutions and mosques only where they currently lived, Hürrem Sultan received from her husband-ruler the exclusive right to build such institutions throughout the country.She created a charitable foundation and named it after her own name.

At the expense of this fund, Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska built an entire district in Istanbul. It consisted of a mosque, a madrasah – an elementary school, a hospital, it included an imaret (if in our opinion, this is a free canteen for poor residents).

It was the first complex of buildings that was built, later famous, by the court architect Sinan. Approximately the same charitable complexes have appeared in other cities of the state. In a couple of decades, Sinan will also build the last refuge for Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska, for the ruler Suleiman, and he himself will be buried not far from their graves.

In addition, Khyurrem Haseki Sultan used her own money to build hospices, mosques, canteens for the homeless and public baths. Despite the fact that Roksolana, contrary to tradition, appeared in public with an open face, she was respected by the people, by the palace ministers, and by foreign guests who arrived at the Topkapi Palace on visits.

There is such a historical fact: when Suleiman 1 went on a military campaign to Persia, he literally emptied his treasury. But this did not become a problem for the enterprising Hürrem, who replaced him on the throne.She did not wait for her husband’s return and undertook to resolve this issue on her own.

First of all, the ruler ordered to equip wine shops in the port areas of Istanbul. In addition, by her order, the berths of the Golden Horn Bay were rebuilt so that not only light boats, but also heavy merchant ships could enter the bay.

Trade shops in the city began to grow by leaps and bounds. And the treasury of the Empire Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska began to fill up with coins at a rapid pace.

Again unanswered questions

And one more thing.Roksolana’s appearance still causes serious controversy among historians. Even the portrait kept in the Topkapi Palace Museum, where she lived, cannot clarify this issue.

After all, besides him, there are many other historical portraits, where the sultana has a different color of eyes and hair, different hairstyles.

And scientists still cannot decide: which portrait was made during Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska’s life and is real, and which is the result of the artist’s invention.

And now it is interesting – no one knows how in life, in fact, the beloved wife of the Caliph Roksolana looked like – young or old – what she was like.But at the same time, all, as one, are convinced that she did not differ in special beauty. Paradox!

Roksolana Mausoleum

Hürrem Haseki Sultan died, according to various sources, on April 15 or 18 in 1558. Hurrem Sultan lived, according to various sources, 53 or 55 years old. Some say she got sick. Others argue that an attempt was made on her, she was poisoned – not of her own free will, but she took poison and was sick for a long time, which ended with the funeral of Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska.

There is no consensus and no historical data on how the death of Khyurrem Sultan came, from what disease, from which Khyurrem Sultan died.The real cause of her death has not been clarified.

The coffin with her body was placed in the Suleymaniye Mosque, at that time it was the largest and most beautiful mosque in Istanbul. A year later, Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska was buried in a tomb in a mausoleum on the territory of the Suleymaniye complex, which Sinan built especially for her.

The grave of this incredibly famous woman is still located in the same place in our time: Turkey, Istanbul, Fatih, Süleymaniye.

The mausoleum (burial vault) with her coffin – Haseki Hürrem Sultan Türbesi (in Turkish) is decorated with exquisite tiles, which are depicted with images of the Garden of Eden, as well as poetic texts.Perhaps these are phrases or sayings, words or quotes from Suleiman’s love letters to Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska.

Life and death of Suleiman the Magnificent

The contradiction of the human Sultan

He was a unique, but still a man with his weaknesses, hobbies and principles: during his life Suleiman-1 wrote more than 2 thousand poems, singing beauty, love, devotion.

And, at the same time:

  • gave a ruthless order to kill his son;
  • Caring for his people and cruelly cracking down on bribe-takers, Suleiman spent colossal sums on waging wars;
  • received the nickname Lawgiver and being an adamant follower of the Koran, he officially married a Russian woman, dissolved his harem and lived his whole life with one single wife.

Even after her death, he remained faithful to her, which is considered an extraordinary case for Muslims.

Death of the Sultan. Where is his grave

Not far away, just a few meters from the tomb of Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska rises an octagonal turbé, which serves as a burial vault for the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

He died on September 5 or 6 in 1566, at the age of 71. For only 8 years, the Sultan survived his “laughing, joyful” wife, because this is the meaning of the name Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska.For some reason, Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska and Suleiman were buried separately. Probably the reason for this is time. Or maybe not. Who knows …

During his life, the Sultan undertook and personally participated in 13 large military campaigns, plus everything else in a huge number of smaller military operations, the main purpose of which was to expand the borders of the Ottoman Empire. Some historians even calculated that, in total, he spent 10 years away from home, in field camps or on horseback.

Over the years, the time of his reign (ruled Suleiman-1 from 1520 to 1566.And this is a whole 46 years!) The borders of the Ottoman Empire increased several times. The territory of his possessions stretched from Algeria to Iran, from Egypt to Vienna.

Suleiman even had his own signature, which contained his name, the name of his father, as well as a title and a short but succinct phrase: Ever victorious.

And the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire died as a warrior. Suffering from gout, he was very ill. But he did not sit at home, struggling with unbearable pain in his body. He was sure that if he was destined to die, then he must die during the hostilities.And so it happened.

There is no exact version of the cause of death. It is only known that Suleiman the Magnificent died in his tent at the gates of the fortress besieged by him. The death of Sultan Suleiman came during his, as it turned out, his last campaign against Hungary. After the death of his wife Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska Sultan lived only 8 years.

There is a legend that the army, preparing that day to storm the fortified city, was not immediately informed about the death of the commander, so as not to undermine the morale of the army.The news of this spread only after some time.

The heart and liver of the Sultan was placed in a golden vessel and, with all the honors, was buried in a tomb at the place of his death. Later, a mausoleum and a mosque were erected on the site of this grave. The body was taken to Istanbul, where Sultan Suleiman was buried. He lived for 71 years.


There is a legend about the unusual will of Sultan Suleiman before his death, his last words. Sensing the approach of death, he gathered his advisers and asked them to fulfill his three last wishes.

  1. First: he wanted his coffin – tabut – carried by the best doctors in the entire Ottoman Empire.
  2. Second: he wanted precious stones and gold coins to be scattered along the road where they would be taboo.
  3. And third: he wanted his hands to stick out of the tabut and be visible to everyone.

The military leaders were very surprised at such requests. And they asked Suleiman: what do they mean, why is it? The wise words of Sultan Suleiman amazed everyone present.He said that his first desire was to tell people that nothing is eternal, and all doctors in the world are powerless in the face of death. The second request is needed so that people understand that everything they got here will remain here. You can’t take anything with you. And the third was to show that even he – the great padishah – leaves empty-handed.

Maybe this is just a parable, and none of this actually happened. Maybe it was? Anything can be.

Children of Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska and Suleiman

Everyone has their own destiny

There is another burial in Suleiman’s mausoleum.The remains of his only daughter Mihrimah are buried next to the father. The father was very fond of his beautiful daughter. He built a mosque in her honor and fulfilled all her whims. Mihrimah Sultan received an excellent education and lived for 56 years.

Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska and Suleiman had six children. Of the five sons of Suleiman and Roksolana, only Selim survived his father and began to rule the empire. The rest died: either from illness, or during the struggle for the Ottoman throne. The eldest – Mehmet – was born in 1521. His father prepared him for the succession to the throne, but at the age of 22, Mehmet fell ill with smallpox and died.

Abdullah was born in 1523. The boy was in very poor health from birth and died, having lived only 3 years.

Jihangir was the sixth child in this family. 1531 was the year of his birth. He had a physical handicap: a hump. And, probably, because of this, no one, and he himself, did not consider himself as a candidate for the throne. But, despite this, he was well educated, wrote poetry. They often liked to talk – father and son. Jihangir had a concubine. He died at 23.

Some historians claim that Suleiman had another daughter, Raziye.But who is her mother, and how her fate developed is not exactly known.

Oh, times. Oh, manners

But about Selim and Bayazid, who were born to Roksolana, respectively, in 1524 and 1525, I will tell you in more detail. Bayezid was highly respected by the Janissaries, as having inherited the best qualities of his father.

Selim did not prove himself in any way from this side. His main occupation in life was being in a harem among concubines. However, he also did not neglect other pleasures, for example, drinking wine in large quantities.No wonder he went down in history under the name Selim the drunkard.

And in this he was actively helped by his friend, the merchant Nasi. Possessing a monopoly on the wine trade throughout the Ottoman Empire, he often sent Selim gifts in the form of a large number of bottles of his best wines.

After the death of Roksolana, a serious struggle for power began between her sons. Gathering an army of loyal Janissaries, Bayezid attacked Selim’s army and was defeated. Together with his entire family and 12,000 janissaries, he managed to take refuge in Persia, waiting for time and deciding what to do in the future.

The Ottoman Empire at that time was in a state of war with Persia, so Bayezid, having settled in the camp of the enemy, became a traitor to the Motherland.

At this time, Sultan Suleiman made peace with Persia, and one of the conditions of this agreement was the murder of all the soldiers of Shehzade Bayazid for 400 thousand gold coins. And he himself, along with the whole family, was to be extradited to the Ottoman representatives, and then executed.

The verdict was executed exactly. It so happened that the great Sultan Kanuni Sultan Süleyman himself destroyed his best heirs.

New ruler Selim

After the death of his father, Suleiman, Selim became the eleventh sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He ruled for 8 years and died, according to some historical data, after drinking a lot of wine and drowning, for this reason, in his own bathroom. Such is the known unattractive fact in his biography about his personal life.

Sulim’s reign was not happy for the country. According to historians, starting with him, subsequent rulers did not lead the country to prosperity.It was with Selim that the extinction of the power of the Ottoman Empire began.

After Selim, the Ottoman Empire, according to tradition, was ruled by his son.

Love: and yet it exists

Such a big family, and each has its own story, its own destiny. It is a pity that neither the children of Sultan Suleiman, nor any of their descendants could experience in real life the same amazing, tender feelings as their ancestors: Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska and Suleiman the First Qanuni. Although, who knows …

And maybe there is no need to look for any mystery in this story, no mystery.It was just a suddenly awakened love between a man and a woman. Yes, the circumstances were, to put it mildly, difficult. But love, as you know, is a mysterious country. There are no rules in it and it is not subject to any logical explanation.

If you are interested in reading stories about love, then I suggest another amazing story that happened in Russia at about the same time as the one written above: “About Peter and Fevronia of Murom or a short story of eternal love.”

In order to experience the era of the Turkish Ottoman Empire even deeper, to truly immerse yourself in the life and life of the Sultan’s harem, I invite you to look into the famous Topkapi Palace, where the described events took place, to stroll through its vast territory, look into the harem and admire its majestic buildings and beautiful views of the surroundings of the amazing old district of Sultanahmet.

The map below shows the sights of Turkey, where I managed to visit.

And what other interesting facts from the life of Khyurrem Sultan and Suleiman do you know, perhaps you know something about other inhabitants of the harem? Share your stories in the comments.

Find out more about these attractions!

Roksolana (Nastya Lisovskaya) – a guide to holidays in Crimea


In 1520, the army of the Crimean Khan Muhammad-Girey made another raid on the Ukrainian lands.In Rohatyn (now a city in the Ivano-Frankivsk region), among the hundreds of captives, there was also 15-year-old Nastya, the daughter of a local priest. Soon it was sold to Turkish merchants in a slave market in the Crimea. In which city it happened, history is silent. According to one version, the case was in Gezlev (Evpatoria), where one of the largest slave markets in Europe was located. If so, then the famous Roksolana can be safely considered a visitor to the Turkish baths in Evpatoria.

From the Crimea, the girl was transported to Istanbul – the capital of the powerful Ottoman Empire.In the local slave market, it was bought by Ibrahim Pasha, who was appointed by the Sultan to the high position of Grand Vizier (Prime Minister). To prove his devotion to the padishah, Ibrahim Pasha made a pleasant gift – he presented several young captives to the ruler of the Ottoman Empire. Nastya was among them.

In the Sultan’s harem, the slave converted to Islam. She raised her finger and pronounced the traditional formula: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.” After that, she was taken to a bedroom where 100 slaves lived.Began daily classes in Turkish, dance, music, etiquette, geography, study of the intricacies of the Koran.

At first, the girl was ordered to serve the concubines, and then she was instructed to raise the 5-year-old heir to the throne, Mustafa. Once Suleiman the Magnificent came to play with his son and saw a young teacher. By the way, she was not at all a written beauty, as she is portrayed in the famous television series. The Venetian diplomat accredited in Istanbul, Pietro Bragadino, remembered Nastya as “young, but not radiant with beauty, although graceful and graceful.”

Roksolana (Anastasia Lisovskaya). Titian, 1550s

Roksolana, she is Anastasia Gavrilovna Lisovskaya

– What’s her name? Suleiman asked.

His wife Makhidevran made a sign to Nastya with her hand. The captive approached and kissed the edge of the sofa on which the Sultan sat. The maid gave the name of the heir’s teacher. Suleiman smiled graciously. This meant that the slave became a “gheze” – noticed by the Sultan. She was transferred from the dormitory to a separate room, and attendants, masseuses, and dressmakers were assigned to her.The chosen one of the ruler of a powerful empire was always supposed to look great and smell sweet.

For five years, Nastya gave birth to Suleiman four sons and a daughter. According to Turkish tradition, a woman who presented a boy to the Sultan was awarded the title of “Sultana of the Year”. During this period, the management of the harem passed into her jurisdiction, she was provided with a retinue of thirty eunuchs and the same number of slaves. Roksolana became the “Sultana of the Year” four times.

She truly fell in love with Suleiman.When the monarch went on military campaigns, Nastya sent him gentle letters. Here is one of them: “My sultan, how boundless the burning pain of separation is. Spare this unfortunate woman and do not delay your wonderful letters. May my soul draw at least a little consolation from a letter. When your beautiful letters are read, your servant and son Mehmed and your slave and daughter Mihrim cry and weep, missing you. Their crying drives me crazy, and it seems like we are in mourning. My Sultan, your son Mehmed and your daughter Mihrima and Selim and Abdullah send you best wishes and shower their faces with dust from under your feet. “

In response, Suleiman sent Nastya passionate declarations of love. Sometimes he clothed them in poetic form. Here is one of the quatrains:

My beloved goddess, my dearest beauty,
My beloved, my brightest moon,
My innermost companion desires, my only one,
You are dearer to me than all the beauties of the world.

Mahidevran watched the success of her rival with undisguised envy. Once she pounced on her husband’s mistress with fists, tore her face, tore out her hair.When the chief eunuch came for Nastya in the evening, the “sultana of the year” refused to leave her room and follow to the ruler’s chambers. The refusal was explained by the inappropriate state of her appearance. Angry Suleiman removed his wife and son Mustafa from the palace, after which Roksolana became the undivided ruler of his heart.

Nastya was a wise woman beyond her years and knew how to defend her interests. Once the Sultan returned from another campaign and found his beloved dejected.She was weighed down that, despite all the favors of the Sultan to her, she was still a powerless slave. Suleiman immediately granted her will. Roksolana showered kisses on his hand and retired to her room. And at night she declared to her benefactor that it is not for a free woman to go to bed with an illegitimate husband, it is a great sin.

Two days later, Roksolana became the official wife of Suleiman the Magnificent. The British ambassador in Istanbul reported to London: “This week an event took place here, which the whole history of the local sultans does not know.The great ruler Suleiman as empress took a slave … named Roksolana, which was celebrated with a great festival. The wedding ceremony took place in the palace, to which a feast of an unprecedented scale was dedicated. The streets of the city are flooded with light at night and people are having fun everywhere. Houses are hung with garlands of flowers, swings are installed everywhere, and people swing on them for hours. At the old hippodrome, large stands were built with gilded bars for the Empress and her courtiers. Roksolana with the ladies close to her watched the tournament, in which Christian and Muslim knights took part; musicians performed in front of the tribune, led wild animals, including outlandish giraffes with such long necks that they reached the sky … There are many different rumors about this wedding, but no one can explain what it all means. “

For the first time in the history of the Ottoman Empire, a female slave turned into the “first lady” of the state. It was also unusual that for the sake of this marriage Suleiman dissolved his harem. He married its inhabitants to officers of the Turkish army and high-ranking officials. “This has never happened to any of his predecessors,” one of the foreign ambassadors wondered about this, “since the Turks have a custom to take first one wife, then another.” But that’s not all. When the Sultan’s mother gave her son new concubines, Nastya pretended to look unhappy, threw herself on the ground in tears and began to lament.The monarch was forced to refuse an expensive gift. He wrote to his mother that his beloved “would have died of grief if these girls – or even at least one of them – remained in the palace.”

Until the end of her life, Roksolana remained the only wife of Suleiman the Magnificent. The venerable mother of the family, she lived for 53 years. On March 15, 1558, her eyes closed forever.

The Sultan was inconsolable. He expressed his feelings in a poem:

I languish with longing at the height of sorrow,
Where day and night I cry and sigh.
Oh woe to me now,
When my beloved was gone.

90,000 a loving wife or a virtuoso manipulator?

One of the most famous and controversial historical figures in the history of the Ottoman Empire, Khyurrem Sultan, is usually depicted as a domineering and ambitious woman who manipulated Sultan Suleiman. But was it really so?

Alexandra Lisovskaya – that was the name of the beloved ruler of the Ottoman Empire Sultan Suleiman.(She was born about 1506 – died about 1558) was the daughter of the priest Gavrila Lisovsky from Rohatyn – a small town in Western Ukraine, located south-west of Ternopil.

Khyurrem Sultan was born in Western Ukraine, in the town of Ruthenia, which was under the rule of the Kingdom of Poland. She was later known as “Roksolana” which meant “Girl from Ruthenia”. Although at birth she was given the name Alexander Lisovsk, the nickname “Roksolana” was so sonorous that even the authors who wrote her biography believed that this was her real name.

Alexandra, whose father was a priest, was captured during a raid by Crimean raiders. Then she was barely 12 years old. The girl was taken to Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, where she received a good education and got acquainted with palace etiquette. Many years later, Alexandra received the nickname “Hyurem”, which means “funny, funny” in translation from Persian, because she was a good-natured and smiling girl.

Khyurrem Sultan (Roksolana) gave birth to six children to the Sultan – five sons and one daughter.Khyurrem Sultan was an exceptionally strong-willed and decisive girl, by nature prone to intrigue, adventurism and nymphomania. While in the harem, she quickly learned to manipulate her husband and his closest relatives, as well as the highest dignitaries and courtiers of the Ottoman Empire.

Behind every strong man is a strong woman

Ukrainians are considered representatives of one of the most beautiful peoples in the world. Was Alexandra beautiful? Judging by the few portraits and verbal descriptions that have remained in history, it is likely that they were slightly embellished, although similar to each other, it is difficult to say with certainty that the girl was a beauty.But her sharp mind and smiling face glorified her all over the world. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent was delighted with her character, he fell in love with her without memory. Historians claim that the love he felt for Khyurem Sultan was at the heart of everything that he managed to achieve in life.

Suleiman met Roksolana the same year he ascended the throne, and their first son, Mehmed, was born the very next year. After Mehmed, Hurem gave birth to Selim, Bayazid, Chihangir and Mihrimah, the only daughter who later married Rüstem Pasha.

Mehmed was a favorite of Suleiman, but he died very early due to the plague. In memory of his deceased son, the Sultan built the Şehzade Camii Mosque in Istanbul.

The concubines who gave birth to the sultan’s son (şehzade) received the title of “khaseki” (prince’s mother). Therefore, Roksolana was also called Khyurrem Haseki.

According to one of the versions, when Suleiman offered his beloved concubine to become his wife, Roksolana refused, explaining that she needed to get freedom, since the concubines were the owner of their master and could not marry.

Sultan agreed to the condition of Khyurrem Haseki and married the former concubine for the first time in history. Roksolana also did not leave with her sons to the province allocated to him, as was the custom among the Haseki, since Suleiman wanted to keep her with him.

Sultan’s wife

When Hafsah Walide, Suleiman’s mother, died, and Mahidevran, another concubine of the Sultan, left the palace with her sons, Roksolana became the main woman at the palace.When the Sultan was away, she watched the palace and informed him about everything that happened in Istanbul. It is clear from her letters that she was a literate woman who, moreover, could write poetry. So it would be fundamentally wrong to think of Khyurrem Sultan as a seducer who was able to survive from the palace of all rivals. She possessed nobility and not in vain bore the title “Wife of the Sultan of Peace”.

Once Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska fell ill and devoted herself entirely to charity. Under her leadership, mosques, fountains, madrasahs, hospitals were built.Haseki Hospital is still functioning in Istanbul.

Khyurrem Sultan died in 1558 and was buried in the courtyard of the Suleymaniye mosque. The tomb for Roxolana was built by the talented architect of that time, Mimar Sinan. According to historical sources, after the death of his beloved wife, the Sultan was so saddened that nothing could please him. After his death, he was buried next to Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska.

As is often the case, the good is quickly forgotten. Roksolane is charged with the execution of Suleiman’s son by Mahidevran and the execution of the Grand Vizier, which, allegedly, were planned by her.However, on closer examination, it turns out that the son wanted to overthrow his father, and the vizier was not completely loyal to him. This was not forgiven in the Ottoman Empire. By the way, Suleiman and Roksolana even executed their son when he wanted to start a riot. In those days, the Ottoman sultans sacrificed even those they loved, if the integrity of the empire and the unity of the nation depended on it. And that was one of the reasons why the Ottoman Empire lasted so long.

Thus, Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska can be accused only of the fact that she supported Suleiman in everything, but not that she manipulated him.

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